NORAD: 148th Fighter Wing Could Lose 24-Hour Alert Status

By KBJR News 1

March 1, 2013 Updated Mar 1, 2013 at 11:39 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth could lose its 24-hour alert status.

According to a study by the US Government Accountability Office, NORAD says removing the base would have little impact on the nation's security.

The move, which also calls for removing the 24-hour alert status at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia would save $73 million over the course of four years.

The savings would come from shifting personnel from full-time to part-time.

It would impact about 70 employees at the Duluth air base.

"The Minnesota National Guard is aware of the Government Accountability Office report that considers removing two of 18 Air Force alert sites, among them the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing, off 24-hour alert," Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement. "No decision has been made and the 148th Fighter Wing remains on alert."

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The mission came under scrutiny this time last year after the Department of Defense announced budget cuts. Then Minnesota 8th District Rep. Chip Cravaack met with the Commander of NORAD to discuss the Fighter Wing's 24-hour alert status.

"I expressed my concern to General Chuck Jacoby, Jr., that the removal of Duluth’s 24-hour alert mission would leave our northern border between Madison, WI and Portland, OR more vulnerable to attack,” Rep. Cravaack said in a February 2012 interview.

Representative Cravaack testified in the House Armed Services Committee in April in support of the 24-hour alert mission.

Kevin Jacobsen
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