148th Fighter Wing Loses 24-Hour Alert Status
Posted at: 08/26/2013 5:17 PM
| Updated at: 08/26/2013 10:27 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
For over a year, the 148th Fighter Wing knew it was a possibility they could lose their 24-hour alert status. Monday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed the 148th lost their alert status in June.
According to NORAD spokesperson, John Cornelio, the 2013 Defense Budget directed an elimination of the 24-hour alert status at two NORAD sites. NORAD conducted an analysis to determine which two sites had the least risk associated with their closure. Cornelio said the two sites selected were the 148th in Duluth and a base in Langley, VA.
The 148th is unable to comment on the elimination of their alert status. In March, a 148th spokesperson told Eyewitness news 71 full-time positions are tied to the alert mission.
David Ross, CEO and President for the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, said the 148th is one of the largest employers in the region. He said any reduction in their mission is felt in the community immediately.
"Any news related to a reduction in their mission or a reduction in their workforce is something we have fought hard to combat," said Ross.
Cornelio said NORAD "retains the ability call upon these sites and units, should a higher level of readiness be required."
NORAD emphasized this is not a base closure, but an elimination of the 24-hour alert requirement at the 148th Fighter Wing.