Dear Secretary Kendall,
We write as members of Michigan's Congressional Delegation of the 118th Congress to voice our continued support for Selfridge Air National Guard Base. As the new Congress begins, we reiterate our bipartisan and bicameral support of replacing Selfridge's A-10 mission with a new, long-term fighter mission.
The Michigan Air National Guard is poised to lead the nation in providing a cutting-edge, integrated force by leveraging Michigan's unique physical environment as well as its industrial capabilities. We possess some of our nation's finest and most innovative All-Domain training resources. Our training and manufacturing environment, bolstered by critical partnerships, is unrivaled. In addition to Selfridge, Michigan is already home to national defense complements, such as the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Camp Grayling, Alpena Combat Readiness Center, Fort Custer Training Center, as well as facilities located at the Detroit Arsenal such as the United States Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and United States Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center. These assets will enable our Armed Forces to prepare for today's global, joint fight and stay one step ahead of our adversaries.
As you know, many of our current and future threats require training and preparedness in cold weather climates. Selfridge can provide a four-seasons training area in the largest inland-range complex east of the Mississippi. With an area of over 17,000 square nautical miles, our airspace provides ideal joint and large-scale opportunities in a littoral environment directly integrated with ranges that allow for all-altitude, all-ordnance deliveries as well as moving and fixed target capabilities in an atmosphere that boasts impressive threat replication and electronic warfare training capabilities.
It is imperative that our next generation fighter aircraft continue to be based in states like Michigan that possess unique climate resiliency. This is especially true relative to the climate threats states experience, particularly on the coasts, leaving our strategic and valuable assets more vulnerable to the severe effects of destructive weather. Not only is Michigan surrounded by the largest body of fresh water, but our Great Lakes also ensure that meteorological extremes are far below average compared with other parts of the country.
Michigan has much to offer the Air Force and the Department of Defense--most importantly, willing, engaged, and unified partners, from the highest levels of government to the families who live right next door. We stand united with Governor Whitmer and State of Michigan's proposed investments to Selfridge and to Michigan's defense capabilities. Selfridge and the Michigan National Guard enjoy unparalleled local support and are sources of pride for Michiganders. Selfridge has a long-standing partnership with the Base Community Council that strengthens ties between Southeast Michigan's civilian and military communities. The close to 5,000 military and civilian jobs supported by Selfridge are not just jobs; they are a part of the fabric of the community.
We look forward to working closely with you, your office, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks on revitalizing whole-of-Department missions and investments in Michigan. Replacing the A-10 with a future fighter mission is essential to the ongoing sustainability of Selfridge, a cost-effective opportunity for the Air Force, and critical for the defense of America and her interests around the world.