Elmendorf, Ft. Richardson to become joint base

Cutting jobs is not a goal of the merger, provisional base commander says

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ANCHORAGE - The process of combining Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson into one joint operation will begin early next year, Army officials said Tuesday.

The joint installation in Anchorage will be the result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. Across the country, 26 facilities are being combined into 12 bases.

The Anchorage transition to one base will begin Jan. 31 and is slated for completion by October 2010.

"Efficiencies won't translate to job cuts; that's not the goal of this initiative," said Air Force Col. Jeffery Vinger, the provisional joint base commander. "We're looking for best practices from both services."

The plan has been in the works for four years, and vice chiefs of the Air Force and Army signed off on the plan Friday.

"This union formalizes an already close working relationship the Air Force and Army have shared for years," Col. Timothy Prior said in a prepared statement. Prior is the commander at Fort Richardson and future deputy commander of the joint base.

Vinger said the military was focused on maintaining services for soldiers, airman, their families and the combined civilian work force.

A commander for the joint facility has not yet been named.

Naval Station Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii announced a merger in August. The Army said that in Washington state, Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force base will also become a joint installation.

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