Air Force Lieutenant General Dana Atkins, the senior military officer responsible all military activities in Alaska, will be soon retiring. He visited Kodiak on Tuesday, speaking at the noon Rotary luncheon meeting. Atkins has been in charge of the Alaska Command for three years.
He says his replacement will be Major General Steve Hoog, who will travel from Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. Atkins says military practice is that there is as little overlap as possible between the two commanders so that subordinates aren’t confused about who is in charge. Atkins says Hoog is already in the loop regarding happenings in the state.
— (New Command 1 :17 sec "I talk to him frequently… what to expect when he arrives in Alaska.")
Atkins says there are four areas that the new commander will need to focus on: the F-22’s, Russian long-range aviation, the military evolution of the Arctic and training exercises. He says Alaska is poised to become the premier location for military exercises as training facilities in the Lower 48 have increasingly more restrictions placed on them. Atkins says there are currently 10 sites in Alaska considered potential training grounds. He says the state’s size is a major part of its appeal
— (New Command 2 :31 sec "When you look at Alaska… those compromises and those accommodations.")
While the military would definitely benefit from establishing training grounds in Alaska’s vast wilderness, Atkins says the state would as well.
— (New Command 3 :39 sec "There’s an obvious economic…Alaska will be the venue for that too.")
Hoog will take command on November 7th. That will give him a few months to settle in before environmental impact studies on the proposed training sites are released in March 2012.