Skip to content

VIDEO: Peters advocates for Michigan defense priorities

Senator underscores the need for continued action to address PFAS contamination, support for Michigan’s defense Installations

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) advocated for Michigan’s defense priorities during a confirmation hearing for General David W. Allvin, the nominee to become Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.

Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, highlighted the need for continued action to address PFAS contamination across Michigan and pressed for continued support of Michigan’s defense installations, including Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC).

“I appreciated the opportunity to discuss Michigan’s defense priorities with General Allvin,” said Senator Peters. “Our state plays a key role in our national defense, and we must ensure our defense installations continue to be part of our long-term strategic goals.”

During the hearing, Peters acknowledged the steps taken by the Air Force to treat PFAS contamination, but stressed the need for continued action to remediate the impacts of these toxic chemicals.

“There’s still more work that needs to be done to expedite these clean-up efforts,” Peters said during the hearing. “I’m going to continue to hold the Air Force and other federal agencies accountable for protecting public health in Michigan.”

Peters went on to highlight the recent visit of Dr. Ravi I. Chaudhary, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment, to Michigan’s Camp Grayling, a facility of the NADWC, to observe military training exercises at Northern Strike. Peters asked General Allvin how he would prioritize joint force exercises if confirmed.

“The Assistant Secretary seemed particularly impressed with the Michigan Guard’s ability to host and lead a multi-national, multi-component Joint Force training exercises using assets like the Selfridge Air National Guard Base, as well as Camp Grayling, and the vast physical space and spectrum that’s available in Northern Michigan,” Peters said during the hearing.

General Allvin responded, “I would like to add my congratulations for how successful Northern Strike continues to be… As we continue to look at different ways of supporting the joint warfighting concept, I can see these particular exercises being particularly useful.”

He continued, “If confirmed, I will continue to advocate for these types of exercises that can advance on our joint training and exercise program.”

Peters additionally underscored the need to speed up autonomous development for the Next-Generation Air Dominance (N-GAD) platform, as well as the Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA). Peters asked General Allvin whether he would recommend expanding training sites for this technology if confirmed.

In his response, General Allvin said, “I really do believe that central to our success as an Air Force, and quite frankly as a joint force, I believe will be our ability to tackle and really leverage autonomy and the AI battlespace in a responsible manner. As we evaluate what will be required and what the systems and associated ranges and airspace that will be required, we need to look at those that are not just perhaps in the traditional testing ranges but I can see opportunities for more in the synthetic environment or perhaps in the actual environment at different ranges.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Peters has fought to position Selfridge Air National Guard Base as a potential location for testing CCA. He led a provision of the 2024 Defense Appropriations Act which would direct the Secretary of the Air Force to provide Congress with a report regarding basing criteria of CCA. This report would include an evaluation of whether existing Air National Guard bases with legacy fighter missions, such as Selfridge, may be appropriate locations for the basing of CCA.