The Defense Department's top policy advisor visited bases in interior Alaska for a first-hand look at a strategically important area.
John C. Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, visited Eielson Air Force Base and Clear Air Force Station during his Dec. 8-9 trip.
Rood was briefed on a variety of topics such as Red Flag-Alaska, Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex modernization efforts and the upcoming beddown of the F-35 Lightning II on Eielson in the spring.
''Each time I visit the region, the experience reminds me of Alaska's strategic importance to our national defense,'' Rood said. ''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 Air Force Station, Rood learned about the 13th Space Warning Squadron's mission of providing combat capabilities through missile warning and space surveillance for North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command.
''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,'' Rood said. ''The multicomponent nature of this operation leverages the strengths of each organization to fulfill critical missions for our homeland defense.''
Air Force 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 undersecretary on his tour of Eielson Air Force Base and Clear Air Force Station over the past two days,'' he said. ''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 Defense Department's principal advisor for defense policy, Rood leads the formulation and coordination of national security policy. He oversees integration of defense policies and plans to achieve desired objectives and is responsible for efforts to build partnerships and defense cooperation with U.S. friends and allies.
(Air Force 1st Lt. Kitsana R. Dounglomchan is assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing.)