ALPENA, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, welcomed U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to Alpena’s Combat Readiness Training Center – a key part of the National All-Domain Warfighting Center. While there, Peters and Secretary Kendall viewed the current operational capabilities of the base, observed an annual joint training exercise hosted by the Michigan National Guard – Exercise Northern Strike – and discussed how Michigan’s military facilities are critical to our nation’s defense.
In the 2021 national defense bill, Peters secured $23 million in funding for a new, state-of-the-art hangar capable of hosting new 5th generation aircraft and accompanying maintenance facilities at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. Peters also secured a special designation for Alpena that ensures that the Air Force and the Army continue to utilize Alpena and have it serve as a testing ground for the latest in defense technologies. This special designation will also benefit Alpena’s military presence as Selfridge Air National Guard Base’s operations often utilize Alpena’s facilities and vast air space for its training missions – strengthening Michigan’s defense footprint across the state.
“Michigan is home to top-notch defense capabilities that showcase the best of what our state has to offer and play a critical role in our national defense,” said Senator Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I was pleased to welcome Air Force Secretary Kendall to Alpena today to see firsthand how Michigan’s military installations – like the Combat Readiness Training Center – contribute and are key to our nation’s defense and strategic positioning. I’ll continue working to position Michigan as a vital part of our national security and hold the Department of Defense accountable to their commitments that they made to our state.”
“Observing Northern Strike and the teammates of the Michigan National Guard and joint force was impressive,” said U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. “Their efforts in a wide-reaching exercise assures me that our one team continues to seek out demanding and relevant training opportunities.”
“Today was an incredible opportunity to welcome Secretary Kendall to experience first-hand all Michigan does to support our national defense through initiatives like exercise Northern Strike and the National All-Domain Warfighting Center,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and Director of Michigan’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “We appreciate the support of Senator Peters and Michigan’s congressional delegation who work tirelessly to ensure the men and women of the Michigan National Guard have the best training, resources, and facilities to excel whenever called upon by our state and nation.”
Secretary Kendall’s visit builds upon Peters’ strong advocacy in Congress for Michigan’s robust and growing defense sector. Peters worked to secure significant commitments from the Department of Defense (DoD) including a pledge that Michigan’s military installations will continue to play a “critical and ongoing role for our national security.”
The visit from Secretary Kendall is among several that high-ranking U.S. officials have made to Michigan, which Peters has either hosted or played a key role in, including an earlier visit from Secretary Kendall and yesterday’s visit from Army Secretary Christine Wormuth. In December, Peters hosted Deputy Defense Secretary Hicks to observe the current operational capabilities of Selfridge Air National Guard Base, review key research and development initiatives taking place through the Kelly Johnson All-Domain Innovation Center, and discuss how Michigan’s military facilities are critical to our nation’s defense. Peters also hosted U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at Selfridge to meet with base leadership and DHS personnel from several DHS components who work on critical national security missions from the base.
To view photos from the visit, click here. Images are courtesy of Senator Peters’ office.