Military & Defense
Alaska's strategic location is a great asset in national defense for both Japan and the United States. The Government of Japan recognizes the significance of the Japan-Alaska alliance in light of recent events, especially ballistic missile launches by North Korea.
Alaska has a large active duty and military veteran population. Anchorage and Fairbanks have the largest military communities in the state, and both cities have an Army post and an Air Force base nearby. Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a joint Army post and Air Force base, is located near Northeast Anchorage. Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright are near the Fairbanks metropolitan area.
Japan is one of many nations that participates in the annual Red Flag-Alaska exercises at JBER and Eielson. The Red Flag exercises simulate realistic air combat to enhance combat response and survival skills of participating nations' militaries and defense forces.
In early 2016, the U.S. Air Force announced that two squadrons of F-35A fighter aircrafts will be sent to Eielson Air Force Base. The first of the 54 F-35s arrived at Eielson in October 2017, and the remainder of the aircrafts are expected to arrive by 2020. The addition of the F-35s is expected to boost the population and bring jobs to the Fairbanks-North Star Borough.
Many current or former military members in Alaska are also university students. The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) has been consistently named one of the most military friendly universities in the nation. UAA has a Military and Veteran Student Resource Center to support students who are in active duty service as well as their dependents and veterans.