There is increasing interest in the alkaline exchange membrane (AEM) fuel cells as this device, if realized, could allow the use of inexpensive metal catalysts and the oxidation of a variety of convenient liquid fuels. While there have been some dramatic early achievements, there is still a need for a fundamental study of anion transport, cation stability and the formation of robust thin films in this area. We have undertaken a comprehensive study of AEMs where theory is linked to well-defined model systems, both in solution and in the solid state, which are characterized using very careful environmental control such that the models can be validated and used predictively. We are also fabricating a number of random copolymer AEMs that can be produced readily in large quantities, allowing us to understand film formation coupled with transport and stability. Those based on perfluorinated backbones invite interesting comparisons with the analogous proton exchange membranes.