NEWS | Dec. 16, 2019

Under Secretary Visits Interior of Alaska Military Bases

By 1st Lt. Kitsana R. Dounglomchan 354th Fighter Wing

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- The Honorable John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, recently visited Eielson Air Force Base and Clear Air Force Station (AFS) from 8-9 Dec., 2019. While on Eielson, Rood was briefed by base personnel on a variety of topics such as RED FLAG-Alaska, Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex modernization efforts and the upcoming bed down of the F-35 on Eielson in the spring of 2020.

“Each time I visit the region the experience reminds me of Alaska’s strategic importance to our national defense,” said Rood. “The interior of Alaska allows our military to conduct large-scale training exercises with unmatched airspace and ground maneuver; it provides unique visibility on our adversaries, which provides early warning to the continental United States; and the superb relationships between all components of the total force make Alaska unique to our national defense.”

While touring Clear AFS, Rood learned about the 13th Space Warning Squadron’s mission of providing combat capabilities through missile warning and space surveillance for NORAD, USNORTHCOM and USSTRATCOM. 

“The seamless integration of the Active Component, National Guard and civilian workforce that accomplishes the mission at Clear AFS serves as a solid reminder of how agile our military has become,” said Rood. “The multi-component nature of this operation leverages the strengths of each organization to fulfill critical missions for our homeland defense.” 

Col. Benjamin Bishop, commander of the 354th Fighter Wing, underscored the importance of Rood’s visit to the interior of Alaska.

“It has been a privilege to host the Under Secretary on his tour of Eielson Air Force Base and Clear Air Force Station over the past two days,” said Bishop. “I’m always proud to showcase to senior leaders in the Department of Defense how the Iceman team uses a large-scale exercise like RED FLAG-Alaska to build relationships with our partners and allies, while simultaneously preparing them for 21st century combat.”

As the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense for defense policy, Rood leads the formulation and coordination of national security policy within the Department of Defense. Rood oversees integration of defense polices and plans to achieve desired objectives.  He is responsible for efforts to build partnerships and defense cooperation with U.S. friends and allies.