Legislature(2015 - 2016)SENATE FINANCE 532


Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
01:05:26 PM Start
01:06:45 PM Briefings: Lieutenant General Russel J. Handy, U.s. Air Force, Commander, Alaska Command U.s. Northern Command;
03:59:23 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
- Lieutenant General Russel J. Handy, U.S. Air
Force; Commander, Alaska Command, U.S. Northern
- Major General Bryan Owens, U.S. Army;
Commanding General, U.S. Army Alaska
- Commissioner Laurie Hummel, Brigadier General,
Col. (R) U.S. Army; Adjutant General, Alaska
National Guard & Commissioner of the Alaska
Dept. of Military & Veterans' Affairs
- Rear Admiral Daniel B. Abel, U.S. Coast Guard;
Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard District
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                 JOINT ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE                                                                               
                        February 9, 2016                                                                                        
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator John Coghill, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Co-Chair                                                                                       
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
Senator Anna MacKinnon                                                                                                          
Senator Click Bishop                                                                                                            
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
PUBLIC MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                        
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Jones - retired                                                                                          
Colonel George Vakalis - retired                                                                                                
Charles "Chick" Wallace                                                                                                         
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
BRIEFINGS:  LIEUTENANT GENERAL RUSSEL J. HANDY~ U.S. AIR FORCE~                                                                 
COMMANDER~ ALASKA COMMAND U.S. NORTHERN COMMAND;                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL BRYAN OWENS~ U.S. ARMY~ COMMANDING GENERAL~ U.S.                                                                  
ARMY ALASKA;                                                                                                                    
COMMISSIONER LAURIE HUMMEL~ COL. (R) U.S. ARMY~ ADJUTANT                                                                        
GENERAL~ ALASKA NATIONAL GUARD AND COMMISSIONER OF THE ALASKA                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY & VETERANS AFFAIRS;                                                                                      
REAR ADMIRAL DANIEL B. ABEL~ U.S. COAST GUARD~ COMMANDER~                                                                       
SEVENTEENTH COAST GUARD DISTRICT.                                                                                               
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LIEUTENANT GENERAL RUSSEL J. HANDY, Commander                                                                                   
Alaska Command U.S. Northern Command                                                                                            
U.S. Air Force                                                                                                                  
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a briefing on the U.S. Air Force                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
MAJOR GENERAL BRYAN OWENS, Commanding General                                                                                   
U.S. Army Alaska                                                                                                                
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a briefing on the United States                                                                
Army Alaska.                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT COLONEL TIM JONES                                                                                                    
U.S. Army, Retired                                                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the presentation asked a question of                                                              
Major General Owens.                                                                                                            
ADJUTANT GENERAL LAURIE HUMMEL, Commissioner                                                                                    
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs                                                                                       
Alaska National Guard, Adjutant General                                                                                         
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a briefing related to the                                                                      
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.                                                                                    
CHIEF MASTER SERGEANT PAUL NELSON                                                                                               
Alaska National Guard                                                                                                           
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed the ethical fitness initiative.                                                                
COLONEL KAREN MANSFIELD, Commander                                                                                              
Alaska Air National Guard                                                                                                       
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented an overview of the Alaska Air                                                                  
National Guard.                                                                                                                 
COLONEL JOE STREFF, Commander                                                                                                   
Alaska Army National Guard                                                                                                      
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented  an overview  of the  Alaska Army                                                             
National Guard.                                                                                                                 
SARGEANT MAJOR MARC PETERSEN                                                                                                    
State Command                                                                                                                   
Alaska Army National Guard                                                                                                      
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented  an overview of  certain military                                                             
support in Alaska.                                                                                                              
REAR ADMIRAL DANIEL ABEL, Commander                                                                                             
Seventeenth Coast Guard District                                                                                                
United States Coast Guard                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented a  briefing of the  United States                                                             
Coast Guard in Alaska.                                                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:05:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR JOHN  COGHILL called the Joint  Armed Services Committee                                                             
meeting to order  at 1:06 p.m.   Representatives Keller, Saddler,                                                               
and LeDoux, and Senators  Bishop, MacKinnon, Kelly, Wielechowski,                                                               
and  Coghill, and  public members  George Vakalis,  Dick Wallace,                                                               
and  Lieutenant Colonel  Tim Jones  were present  at the  call to                                                               
order.  Representatives Lynn and  Tarr arrived as the meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                    
 ^BRIEFINGS:  Lieutenant General Russel J. Handy, U.S. Air Force,                                                           
        Commander, Alaska Command U.S. Northern Command;                                                                    
   Major General Bryan Owens, U.S. Army, Commanding General,                                                                
                       U.S. Army Alaska;                                                                                    
    Commissioner Laurie Hummel, Col. (R) U.S. Army, Adjutant                                                                
 General, Alaska National Guard and Commissioner of the Alaska                                                              
           Department of Military & Veterans Affairs;                                                                       
   Rear Admiral Daniel B. Abel, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander,                                                                
               Seventeenth Coast Guard District.                                                                            
BRIEFINGS:  Lieutenant General Russel J. Handy, U.S. Air Force,                                                                 
Commander, Alaska Command U.S. Northern Command; Major General                                                                  
Bryan Owens, U.S. Army, Commanding General, U.S. Army Alaska;                                                                   
Commissioner Laurie Hummel, Col. (R) U.S. Army, Adjutant                                                                        
General, Alaska National Guard and Commissioner of the Alaska                                                                   
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs; Rear Admiral Daniel                                                                  
B. Abel, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventeenth Coast Guard                                                                   
1:06:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAR COGHILL announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be  briefings by  Lieutenant General  Russel J.  Handy, U.S.  Air                                                               
Force,  Commander, Alaska  Command U.S.  Northern Command;  Major                                                               
General  Bryan Owens,  U.S. Army,  Commanding General,  U.S. Army                                                               
Alaska; Commissioner Laurie Hummel,  Col. (R) U.S. Army, Adjutant                                                               
General,  Alaska National  Guard and  Commissioner of  the Alaska                                                               
Department  of  Military &  Veterans  Affairs;  and Rear  Admiral                                                               
Daniel B.  Abel, U.S. Coast  Guard, Commander,  Seventeenth Coast                                                               
Guard District.                                                                                                                 
1:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL expressed  appreciation  for the  legislature's                                                               
involvement with  the military, for past  co-chairs Senator Kelly                                                               
and Representative Saddler,  and for the men and  women who serve                                                               
in the military.                                                                                                                
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX thanked  all [members of the  military present at                                                               
the meeting] for their service to the United States.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL  indicated   that  additional  information  the                                                               
presenters may  not have  had time to  share during  the briefing                                                               
was contained within the committee packet.                                                                                      
1:09:43 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL RUSSEL  J. HANDY,  Commander, Alaska  Command                                                               
U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Air  Force, offered a briefing on the                                                               
U.S. Air Force in Alaska,  and expressed his appreciation for the                                                               
opportunity to  brag about  the men and  women serving  in Alaska                                                               
and to  serve in a  state that "feels  like home."   He explained                                                               
that those  in the military  move often, and Alaska  welcomes the                                                               
military with  open arms,  which he said  allows the  military to                                                               
operate and train to "remain ready to do the nation's business."                                                                
1:10:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL  noted that Major  General Jacob  Lestenkof, USA                                                               
(Ret) was on line listening to the briefing.                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL HANDY said he  would give an overview and show                                                               
slides, but  wanted to  keep the discussion  open and  offered to                                                               
produce  additional information  when requested.   He  introduced                                                               
A.J. Pinto, sitting  with him at the witness table,  whom he said                                                               
was serving  today as  a legislative liaison  but is  normally an                                                               
air battle manager.                                                                                                             
1:12:00 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL HANDY began  a PowerPoint presentation, titled                                                               
"Combined Headquarters:  America's  finest fighting team, engaged                                                               
in crises worldwide  while securing America's future  in the Last                                                               
Frontier."   He  stated he  would address  strategic environment,                                                               
offer a  year in review,  and offer  a perspective from  the U.S.                                                               
Department of Defense (DoD).   He noted that Secretary Carter has                                                               
been active with new policies and  initiatives.  He said he would                                                               
not discuss U.S.  Army Alaska, the Alaska National  Guard, or the                                                               
U.S.  Coast  Guard, because  there  are  experts to  present  and                                                               
address those topics.                                                                                                           
1:13:00 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed  attention to slide  3, titled                                                               
"The  Way  Most  View  the  World"  and  said  it  is  the  usual                                                               
projection that  is seen - a  flat map of the  world, with Alaska                                                               
barely in  view.  He  moved on to slide  4, titled, "Our  View of                                                               
the World,"  which shows "the  way we view  the world."   He said                                                               
the image - with the North Pole  as the central image - is a much                                                               
more accurate way  to show the challenges of serving  in a global                                                               
environment.  He said last year  was the warmest on record in the                                                               
Arctic, with  multi-year sea  ice is  melting, which  changes the                                                               
way  [the  U.S.  Air  Force] is  thinking  about  operations  [in                                                               
Alaska].  He opined that for  the most part people agree now that                                                               
climate  change  exists, but  there  is  still debate  about  the                                                               
causes of it.   He indicated the  focus of the U.S.  Air Force is                                                               
the need  to operate in  the Arctic as easily  as it can  off the                                                               
coast of  Southern California.   He said people can  debate about                                                               
numbers  and timelines,  but  the  U.S. Air  Force  is seeing  an                                                               
increase  in  human  activity  it  believes  is  based  upon  the                                                               
combination  of "better  access  and undiscovered  wealth in  the                                                               
Arctic."   He  predicted that  increase in  human activity  would                                                               
continue.    He  said,  "And certainly  the  nation,  across  the                                                               
Bering,  recognizes that,  and there's  a  significant amount  of                                                               
buildup  both  economic  and military  buildup  going  along  the                                                               
Russian  Arctic Coast."    He  added, "And  they  very much  have                                                               
freedom of action  on the Northern Sea route and  are going to be                                                               
able to  continue to support  that, not only with  their economy,                                                               
but   with  their   military."     He   said  ultimately   Arctic                                                               
understanding is  a global  issue; it is  not just  about Alaskan                                                               
command  or  Northern  Command, but  it  also  includes  European                                                               
Command,  Pacific  Command,  and  Strategic Command.    He  said,                                                               
"We're on  a bit of  quest to ensure that  the rest of  the globe                                                               
starts to look at our world like this."                                                                                         
1:15:14 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed  attention to slide  5, titled                                                               
"Our Evolving  Environment."  He  referred to the  bullet points,                                                               
which read:  Russia, China,  North Korea, Iran, and ISIL [Islamic                                                               
States of  Iraq and  the Levant].   He said  "100 years  ago" the                                                               
U.S. Military  was focused  on [Russia], whereas  in the  last 20                                                               
years,  the military  has been  focused on  "support to  counter-                                                               
insurgency,  counter-terrorism, [and]  operations  in the  Middle                                                               
East, at  great expense  to the other  priorities."   During this                                                               
time, he indicated  the rest of the world has  been studying "the                                                               
American way  of war,"  and "the list  of challenges"  has grown.                                                               
He continued as follows:                                                                                                        
     A  combination  of  strategy,  doctrine,  demonstrative                                                                    
     provocative  actions  in  Europe  and  an  increase  in                                                                    
     capabilities    supported    by   significant    fiscal                                                                    
     investment  make  Russia  a   different  place  from  a                                                                    
     military  perspective,  and one  that  we  have to  pay                                                                    
       attention to, not just from a let's-stay-out-of-a-                                                                       
    nuclear-war    perspective    but   [in    terms    of]                                                                     
     "comprehensive deterrence across the continuum."                                                                           
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  HANDY  said   China  is  literally  building                                                               
islands in the  South China Sea, and between the  South China Sea                                                               
and  East China  Sea sovereignty  debates,  he said,  "We see  an                                                               
opportunity for  potential friction there  - between not  just us                                                               
and China but  our closest allies and partners."   He stated that                                                               
anyone  who thinks  the next  two  countries on  the list  [North                                                               
Korea  and Iran]  would not  leverage conflict  "in any  of those                                                               
areas,  with their  capabilities,  to  achieve their  objectives"                                                               
would be  naïve.  He  said organizations,  such as ISIL,  are not                                                               
going away.   He characterized such organizations  at "evil," and                                                               
he  said   [ISIL]  has  recently  demonstrated   a  global  power                                                               
projection capability  outside its region.   He warned  that [the                                                               
U.S.]  cannot turn  its back  on [ISIL]  in the  interest of  the                                                               
country and its  closest allies and partners.   He indicated that                                                               
although the list [of countries shown  on slide 5] has grown, the                                                               
U.S. Military  force has  not grown;  therefore, he  stressed the                                                               
importance of  doing "things  a little bit  better" and  think of                                                               
things in a "different fashion."                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  HANDY  addressed  information  on  slide  6,                                                               
titled "Military Spending."   He said many  of the aforementioned                                                               
nations  have been  supporting their  military operations  with a                                                               
significant investment  and, after studying "the  American way of                                                               
war," are developing, implementing,  and fielding weapons systems                                                               
specifically to  counter [U.S.  weapons].   For example,  he said                                                               
the  countries are  developing  long-range  ballistic and  cruise                                                               
missiles "across  not just the  nuclear end but the  continuum of                                                               
conventional capability,  as well."   He  said this  is something                                                               
that [the  U.S. Military  as a  whole] is  studying closely.   He                                                               
said many  of these nations  lack transparency; therefore,  it is                                                               
difficult to determine  the capacity of their weaponry.   He said                                                               
[the U.S.  Air Force] thinks  the North Korean investment  may be                                                               
"upwards  of 25  percent."    He said  there  is major  evolution                                                               
across  the  globe   to  which  [the  U.S.   Military]  must  pay                                                               
1:18:13 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed  attention to slide  7, titled                                                               
"DoD Budget,"  which he said  is between $500-  and $600-billion.                                                               
He said  there is a  significant difference between the  U.S. and                                                               
other  countries  in  terms  of  the way  it  spends  money,  the                                                               
challenges  it faces,  and the  transparency it  provides to  its                                                               
citizens.  He stated there are  a number of expenditures that are                                                               
"must  pays" and  there is  a growing  personnel and  entitlement                                                               
budget.   He mentioned  initiatives coming out  of the  Office of                                                               
the  Secretary  of Defense  regarding  reform  of retirement  and                                                               
transformation of  medical care.   He said,  "That line is  on an                                                               
upward vector, and if we don't  do anything to arrest it, it will                                                               
consume the  DoD budget."   Also including the  must-pay category                                                               
is managing infrastructure, some of  which he said is excess, for                                                               
example, more bases  and legacy weapons than necessary.   He said                                                               
in order  to make room  "to have that modernization  trade space"                                                               
will   require  action.     He   emphasized  the   importance  of                                                               
modernization, and  in approximately two months,  the average age                                                               
of U.S.  Air Force combat aircraft  - a fighter or  bomber - will                                                               
exceed 27  years.  He  stated [the combat aircraft]  operates off                                                               
of  technology like  the iPhone,  and he  asked the  committee to                                                               
imagine how  effective a  27-year-old iPhone would  be.   He said                                                               
some  of  the aircraft  used  by  the  U.S. Air  Force  requiring                                                               
modernization  include the  F-35, the  long-range strike  bomber,                                                               
and the KC-46 tanker.  He  stated that sandwiched into the middle                                                               
of must-pays  and modernization  are operations  and maintenance,                                                               
which  include:  readiness,  investments  in  the  Joint  Pacific                                                               
Alaska  Range Complex  (JPARC) training,  flying hours  and parts                                                               
and  logistics,  and  other day-to-day  business  expenses.    He                                                               
mentioned the  effort for fiscal  year 2016 (FY16), and  he spoke                                                               
of the Presidential budget is rolling  out for FY17 today, and on                                                               
its  way to  Capitol  Hill  this week.    He  predicted it  would                                                               
contain achieving  a balance  between operations  and maintenance                                                               
and  [modernization].    He  said Secretary  Carter  is  keen  on                                                               
knowing that some of these  challenges require "game changes" and                                                               
"we're investing [a]  significant amount of ...  resources in ...                                                               
that sort of acquisition and technology research."                                                                              
1:20:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP  asked  whether any  new  C-130J  Super  Hercules                                                               
models would be coming to Alaska.                                                                                               
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL   HANDY  said  he  does   not  envision  that                                                               
happening "anywhere  in these  two budget years"  and he  has not                                                               
heard  any  serious discussion  about  "more  of them  coming  to                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY drew attention  to a chart on  slide 8,                                                               
titled "Headquarters  Organization."   He stated that  he "served                                                               
two primary masters."  He pointed  to the left side of the chart,                                                               
[which lists  USPACOM], and indicated  that under that  entity he                                                               
works  for General  Lori J.  Robinson  in Pacific  Air Forces  in                                                               
Hawaii  as the  management  headquarters for  the  airmen in  the                                                               
primary  organizations in  Hawaii,  Guam, and  Alaska.   In  this                                                               
capacity he takes care of  the "organize, train, equip" functions                                                               
to provide  ready forces across  the globe.   He noted  that F-22                                                               
Raptor fighter jets from Hawaii  are currently in the Middle East                                                               
leading the way in the fight  against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and                                                               
F-22s from Alaska will relieve them this spring.                                                                                
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY next drew  attention to the  right side                                                               
of the chart on slide 8,  [which lists NORAD and USNORTHCOM], and                                                               
he said  he serves  under Navy  Admiral Bill  Gortney who  is the                                                               
commander of  NORAD and U.S.  Northern Command, and take  care of                                                               
homeland   defense,  support   to   civil  authorities,   mission                                                               
assurance,  and  Arctic  advocacy  across  the  Alaskan  area  of                                                               
responsibility (AOR).  He continued as follows:                                                                                 
     This  organization is  formalized.   We  lost about  19                                                                    
     percent   of  our   headquarters  manpower;   that  was                                                                    
     completely consistent with  ... an across-the-board DoD                                                                    
     cut  of 20  percent -  really, really  small numbers  -                                                                    
     didn't  impact our  ability to  command and  control at                                                                    
     all.   The synchronization  and merger  actually helped                                                                    
     us, and we are very  much taking the walls down between                                                                    
     this   Alaska   NORAD   region  and   Alaskan   Command                                                                    
     Organization  and working  ...  really  like we're  one                                                                    
     synchronized headquarters.                                                                                                 
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY acknowledged that [the  U.S. Air Force]                                                               
does not  do anything alone;  it works with its  "primary mission                                                               
partners," whom he indicated were  in the room waiting their turn                                                               
to speak.                                                                                                                       
1:23:23 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed  attention to slide  9, titled                                                               
"ALCOM  Year   in  Review,"  which  shows   what  Alaska  Command                                                               
headquarters has been doing.   He indicated that the purple boxes                                                               
indicate that  that the U.S. Air  Force has been receiving  a lot                                                               
of attention,  including from senior United  States Department of                                                               
Defense  officials,  individuals   encouraged  by  Alaska's  U.S.                                                               
congressional delegates to  visit, and media.   He indicated that                                                               
much of  that attention centered around  President Barack Obama's                                                               
visit to Alaska.                                                                                                                
1:24:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER noted  there had  just been  a change  in                                                               
Canadian government where liberals took  over and the country was                                                               
pulling back  its CF-18s.  He  asked, "Has there been  any change                                                               
in  the candidate's  posture  of support  for  the NORAD  Command                                                               
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  HANDY answered  there  had  been no  change,                                                               
other than perhaps  "a strengthening of that".   He mentioned the                                                               
prime   minister  [of   Canada]  and   stated,  "Although   those                                                               
statements weren't  necessarily synchronized,  I think  you could                                                               
make the  relation that he  is thinking seriously  about homeland                                                               
defense  and  making  sure  that  he's  got  the  right  kind  of                                                               
investments at  home."   He said "we  are constantly  working" at                                                               
evolving  our  plans and  doing  things  better.   He  said  Navy                                                               
Admiral  Gortney  has  held   many  conversations  with  evolving                                                               
NORAD's  relationship with  NORTHCOM and  the way  [the military]                                                               
defends the U.S.   He concluded, "We have total  support from the                                                               
Canadian  government."   He indicated  there is  more integration                                                               
[between the  U.S. and Canadian  government defense]  in training                                                               
exercises and intercept operations.                                                                                             
1:25:45 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  HANDY moved  on  to  slide 10,  "DoD  Arctic                                                               
Capability  Advocacy."   He  said that  from  an Arctic  advocacy                                                               
perspective,  there  has  been  a lot  of  activity  at  NORTHCOM                                                               
headquarters  and  in  Alaska.     He  said  "we  are  NORTHCOM's                                                               
operational  Arctic experts,"  who  truly understand  what it  is                                                               
like  to  operate in  the  Arctic  on  a  day-to-day basis.    He                                                               
indicated  that "we  help  NORAD become  established  as the  DoD                                                               
advocate for  the Arctic."   He relayed  that this  year NORTHCOM                                                               
established the  Arctic Capability Advocacy Working  Group, which                                                               
is  a group  of like-minded  governmental and  community agencies                                                               
both living and operating in  the Arctic and addressing potential                                                               
contingencies.  He added, "And  we're working very carefully with                                                               
them on that."                                                                                                                  
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY said the  two main themes  for NORTHCOM                                                               
in  considering  capability  gaps  are:   how  "we  use  existing                                                               
capabilities,"  because   it  takes   a  long  time   to  develop                                                               
requirements and fund  things; and what needs to be  done in that                                                               
regard for  the long  term.  Regarding  the latter,  he explained                                                               
that it  is first necessary  to agree  upon what the  Arctic will                                                               
look like in  20, 30, 50 years, and there  is not total agreement                                                               
on that.   He said  NORTHCOM is  working hard to  determine "what                                                               
that means to DoD."                                                                                                             
1:27:15 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL HANDY  named the "four main  areas we examine"                                                               
from  a  capability  perspective:     communications,  which  are                                                               
limited  in  the  Arctic; domain  awareness,  primarily  air  and                                                               
maritime domain, which requires  having the necessary systems and                                                               
common operating pictures  to maintain awareness; infrastructure,                                                               
which is  expensive and  time intensive to  build in  the Arctic,                                                               
thus  requires an  effort to  understand  what infrastructure  is                                                               
necessary in  order for  the military  to be  able to  respond to                                                               
contingencies;  and then  finally,  presence, how  often do  they                                                               
want to operate  in the Arctic and in what  kind of environments,                                                               
and what  kind of  training.   He said  there is  a lot  of local                                                               
effort on  that and  mentioned that  now there  is a  little more                                                               
time to  invest in soldiers  "increasingly coming home  from Iraq                                                               
and Afghanistan."   He talked  about working with the  U.S. Navy,                                                               
which has Ice  Exercise (ICEX) and repeat with  its submarine lab                                                               
again this year.   He said, "This year we've  been partnered with                                                               
them from the  very beginning planning stages to ...  make that a                                                               
joint exercise."                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY reminded  the committee that  last year                                                               
"we  did  a replication  of  the  Good  Friday Earthquake"  as  a                                                               
biennial  capstone  exercise  and  the whole  nation  focused  on                                                               
Alaska and earthquake scenarios.   He relayed that this year "the                                                               
Arctic  edge  scenario"  is  focused  on  a  Cascadia  earthquake                                                               
scenario, but  with impact that  includes Alaska.  He  said there                                                               
would be  other exercises planned  in order to take  advantage of                                                               
all  the attendees.   He  mentioned  there is  an Arctic  Council                                                               
indoors  search and  rescue  exercise.   He  explained that  even                                                               
though the  Arctic Council is  a diplomatic agency rather  than a                                                               
military one,  "we understand that  we need  to be in  support of                                                               
those things, and we are full  participants in that, and that's a                                                               
multi-national,  Arctic-based  disaster  that  we  need  to  help                                                               
respond to in a search and rescue environment" this coming year.                                                                
1:29:35 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY brought  attention to slide  11, titled                                                               
"OP  Colony  Glacier," and  provided  an  update on  the  remains                                                               
recovery  operation  pertaining  to  a  1952  crash  of  a  C-124                                                               
Globemaster II on  Mt. Gannet.  Sixty years later  the remains of                                                               
the  aircraft and  passengers  on board  are  beginning to  merge                                                               
[because the glacier  is receding].  He said each  year since the                                                               
initial discovery [in 2012], the  U.S. Air Force has conducted an                                                               
annual operation  spanning three  to five  weeks, during  a small                                                               
window  where the  snow has  melted down,  but before  conditions                                                               
become  unstable later  in  the summer.   He  said  ALCOM is  the                                                               
headquarters that "keeps our arms  around everything that's going                                                               
on" and assists with that operation.   He relayed that this year,                                                               
the job will  be transitioned from the  Defense Accounting Agency                                                               
(DAA),  which focuses  more on  overseas loss,  such as  POWs and                                                               
MIAs, to the U.S. Air Force  Mortuary Affairs because this is the                                                               
latter's  core mission.    He  reported that  the  remains of  17                                                               
passengers  of the  52 passengers  that were  on board  have been                                                               
repatriated.   Last  year  more remains  were  recovered and  the                                                               
glacier reveals  more each year.   He said DNA tests  are used to                                                               
determine whether  new remains  found belong  to another  body or                                                               
belong to a deceased person already identified.                                                                                 
1:31:23 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 12, titled                                                               
"GLACIER Summit  & POTUS Visit."   As shown on slide  12, GLACIER                                                               
is an  acronym that  spells out Global  Leadership in  the Arctic                                                               
Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement &  Resilience.  He said there                                                               
were  many ministerial  level events  in  which the  DoD was  not                                                               
directly  involved.   Notwithstanding  that,  he  said, "We  were                                                               
involved in  ... shadowing things  that have an interest  to DoD,                                                               
such   as  the   strengthening  emergency   response  ministerial                                                               
session."   He  said the  [Alaska] National  Guard, DoD,  and the                                                               
[Alaska] Coast Guard  "will take a very big role  in helping with                                                               
that."   He described  the military's  involvement in  ensuring a                                                               
successful visit from President Obama.                                                                                          
1:32:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL,  in  referring  to  President  Obama's  visit,                                                               
surmised that  the U.S.  Air Force  had probably  tested Alaska's                                                               
communication links,  and asked Lieutenant General  Handy whether                                                               
improvements needed to be made.                                                                                                 
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL HANDY  responded he  was very  satisfied with                                                               
the results.   He  said there  are a number  of ways  of "forward                                                               
deploying expeditionary  communications."   He described it  as a                                                               
three-tier operation, and offered further details.                                                                              
1:34:33 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL HANDY  directed  attention  to slides  13-14,                                                               
titled "Ballistic  Missile Defense."   He  said Alaska  is always                                                               
"the center  of gravity  for ballistic  missile defense  in North                                                               
America."  He said other  countries are acquiring greater numbers                                                               
of ballistic  missiles with greater capabilities  and ranges, and                                                               
it is a  burden for the Missile Defense Agency  and United States                                                               
Department of Defense "to ensure the  system keeps up."  As shown                                                               
on slide  14, he  said MDA  has a sizeable  budget and  is making                                                               
strides  in meeting  the  Secretary of  Defense's  mandate of  44                                                               
ground-based interceptors  within the inventory by  2017, as well                                                               
as   increasing   the   performance  and   reliability   of   the                                                               
interceptors that are  on the ground.  He said  the Missile Field                                                               
1 refurbishment he said he  mentioned last year would be complete                                                               
in  the  fourth  quarter  of  FY  16,  which  will  provide  ["14                                                               
operationally configured silos"].                                                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY mentioned  there are two  ongoing radar                                                               
projects.   He  said  the  Clear Air  Force  Station (AFS)  early                                                               
warning  radar upgrade  and connection  to the  ballistic missile                                                               
defense  system is  on track,  and he  offered his  understanding                                                               
that it  should be completed  by the end  of [2016].   He related                                                               
that  "the department"  and Missile  Defense Agency  and NORTHCOM                                                               
agreed that Clear  would be the preferred location  for the long-                                                               
range discriminating radar, which  also increases the performance                                                               
of the  system and the  ability to discriminate  different pieces                                                               
and parts.  For example, what is  a threat and what is a piece of                                                               
the missile  body.  He  said an environmental impact  analysis is                                                               
ongoing for  the [long-range  discrimination radar]  (LRDR), "but                                                               
so far, again,  looking to be included in the  budget for '17, at                                                               
least some of the military  construction for Clear."  He reported                                                               
that the  commercial power tie-in  was successfully  completed; a                                                               
50-year-old power  plant was  shut down, and  there have  been no                                                               
issues with capacity or liability in terms of that power.                                                                       
1:37:21 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 15, titled                                                               
"2015 NORTHERN  EDGE."  He  said Alaska continues to  represent a                                                               
critical training  venue for the  U.S. Joint Team and  allies and                                                               
partners "across  the continuum  of operations,"  everything from                                                               
very  small  training  scenarios   to  capstone  events  such  as                                                               
Northern Edge.  Northern Edge is  a biennial event and during the                                                               
last  event there  were over  7,099 participants,  including U.S.                                                               
Navy ships [in  the Gulf of Alaska], and  training included large                                                               
force exercise,  joint live fires,  search and rescue,  with many                                                               
high end capabilities.  Alaska,  he said, is a unique environment                                                               
with the  ability to train and  test where no one  is watching or                                                               
listening  to the  exercises, and  it  brought approximately  $13                                                               
million to the economy of Alaska.                                                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 16, titled                                                               
"2015 RED  FLAG Exercises."  He  said Red Flag continues  to be a                                                               
success.  He  said, "We got ...  the U.S. Air Force  to commit to                                                               
three of  these in Alaska  per year, in  addition to the  ... Red                                                               
Flags that  we do  down in  Nellis Air Force  Base, Nevada."   He                                                               
said  three  Red Flag  exercises  had  taken  place in  2015,  in                                                               
April/May,  August, and  October.   During "Red  Flag 15-3,"  six                                                               
nations  participated in  the exercise;  15  nations sent  senior                                                               
general  flag  officer  representatives   to  participate  in  an                                                               
Executive Observer Program that  Lieutenant General Handy said he                                                               
hosted  at Joint  Base Elmendorf-Richardson  (JBER) in  Anchorage                                                               
and in  Interior Alaska.   He said some nations  had participated                                                               
before, while others had never done  so; each year that the event                                                               
is held brings in a few more nations to participate.                                                                            
1:39:34 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 17, titled                                                               
"2015  VIGILANT SHIELD,"  and advised  it is  an annual  capstone                                                               
homeland  offense  command post  exercise,  which  took place  in                                                               
November  2015  hosted  by  NORAD and  NORTHCOM.    The  exercise                                                               
focuses not only on offense  mechanisms, but also in teaching how                                                               
to respond  to a bad  thing happening  to the U.S.  by practicing                                                               
consequence management, support to  civil authorities, et cetera.                                                               
He  noted   that  three  field   training  exercises   (FTX)  are                                                               
necessary,  although  unusual for  Vigilant  Shield.   He  talked                                                               
about  live exercises.   One  was a  "render safe  operation," in                                                               
which a dangerous  device was found in the Port  of Anchorage and                                                               
all the commanding  control and operations were  utilized for the                                                               
situation,  which required  high-level U.S.  Government approval.                                                               
He  said this  was  a  successful event.    Another exercise  was                                                               
taking  a C-17  with a  force Stryker  to Deadhorse,  Alaska, and                                                               
conducting  an Arctic  operation  with the  U.S.  Army Alaska  to                                                               
conduct base  patrol operations.   He said  an infantry  unit was                                                               
self-deployed "from  Brian's organization  to Fort Greely"  to do                                                               
security operations.                                                                                                            
1:41:06 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 18, titled                                                               
"Major 2016 Exercises."  He  said there are literally hundreds of                                                               
other  events and  exercises that  were conducted  in and  around                                                               
Alaska,  but slide  18  shows  the biggest  ones:    ICEX 16,  in                                                               
February through March; four Red  Flags are on the books; another                                                               
Vigilant Shield  in October; and  Arctic Edge 16 that  have three                                                               
associated  exercises.   The  first  exercise  is Alaska  Shield,                                                               
which he  said is focused  on response  to acts of  terrorism and                                                               
response  to a  "cyber event."    The second  exercise is  Ardent                                                               
Sentry,  which  he described  as  a  NORTHCOM sponsored  exercise                                                               
linked  with the  aforementioned  Cascadian earthquake  scenario.                                                               
The third exercise is Arctic  Chinook, which is an Arctic Council                                                               
search and rescue exercise.                                                                                                     
1:42:10 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed  attention to slide  19, "11th                                                               
Air Force"  and said  he will  shift gears  to discuss  the units                                                               
within the  11th Air Force,  his responsibility, and some  of the                                                               
things the  airmen have  been doing for  their country  in Alaska                                                               
over the  past years.   As the  committee members are  aware, the                                                               
Pacific  Air  Forces  (PACAF) Regional  Support  Center  executes                                                               
operations and  maintenance contracts for a  number of facilities                                                               
in Alaska and throughout the  Indo-Asia Pacific.  He related that                                                               
if they  have a  base or  facility they  do not  know what  to do                                                               
with, they give it to Colonel  Frank Flores and he determines how                                                               
to make  it work.  The  Alaskan Command executes the  two largest                                                               
contracts in Pacific  Air Force taking care of the  15 long range                                                               
radars  that  encircle  Alaska and  assist  with  indications  of                                                               
warnings.  They  have a large installation  support contract that                                                               
takes care  of their operation  at King Salmon, at  Eareckson Air                                                               
Station located  on the  island of Shemya,  Alaska and  also Wake                                                               
Island  in  the  middle  of  the Pacific  Ocean.    Of  note,  he                                                               
commented, those  contracts were completely transformed  over the                                                               
last  18  months.   The  first  contract  is with  ARCTEC  Alaska                                                               
managing the  Alaska radar system  and is a $474  million savings                                                               
based  on consolidation  and changes  to the  way it  is managed.                                                               
Chugach runs  the ISS support  contract with a contract  value at                                                               
$184 million  for a seven year  period of time.   A modernization                                                               
was recently  completed of the  15 Long Range Radar,  the picture                                                               
in  the  upper left  corner  is  of one  of  their  radars.   The                                                               
facility looked exactly  like that in 1955 from  the outside, but                                                               
the inside  is a modern facility  that was previously run  by 100                                                               
airmen,  full squadron  for  each of  those  radars.   Currently,                                                               
there are four  contractors supporting the entire  system to keep                                                               
it  operating  at the  same  level  of  readiness, and  that  has                                                               
happened  through a  number  of upgrades.    The Essential  Parts                                                               
Replacement  Program  was  completed   last  year,  $126  million                                                               
contract.   Notably,  he explained,  over the  10 year  period of                                                               
that contract,  $170 million was  saved by consolidating  many of                                                               
the support activities and bringing  some of that back to support                                                               
in Anchorage.                                                                                                                   
1:44:33 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 20, titled                                                               
"JBER  -  673d Air  Base  Wing"  and  referred to  their  ongoing                                                               
environmental restoration  projects in  Alaska that "kinda  go on                                                               
under  the radar,  if you  will," and  58 environmental  projects                                                               
will  be  complete  in  2016.   He  explained  the  projects  are                                                               
anywhere from  a village experiencing erosion  on their coastline                                                               
to  some new  discovery.    Typically what  happens,  he said,  a                                                               
previous military  base site  was completely  cleaned up  - there                                                               
were thousands throughout  the cold war in Alaska,  and through a                                                               
change in  the environment,  vegetation starts  to grow  back and                                                               
environmental  issues  are  rediscovered.    At  that  time,  the                                                               
service  or agency  that  owned and  controlled  the facility  is                                                               
located and a brand new environmental project is conducted.                                                                     
1:45:22 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 21, titled                                                               
"JBER - 3rd Wing" and stated  the 673d Air Base Wing continues to                                                               
lead the  finest joint base in  the Department of Defense  due to                                                               
various reasons such  as, sharing a common fence  line, they have                                                               
very good  synchronization of  operational missions  between what                                                               
the Army does on  JBER and what the Air Force  does.  Frankly, he                                                               
advised, they had  decided to go joint long before  being told by                                                               
the Department of  Defense.  During the early  2000s, they joined                                                               
fire   and  rescue,   took  the   gate  down   between  the   two                                                               
installations, had  a good start  to joining, and  are continuing                                                               
to improve upon  that success.  Colonel  Brian Bruckbauer, during                                                               
the  past  year has  taken  the  community relations  program  to                                                               
another  level in  working with  the  Municipality of  Anchorage.                                                               
They are engaged  in a seven step process that  brought Air Force                                                               
Headquarters into the loop based upon  a new law making it easier                                                               
for them  to partner  with the local  community on  projects, and                                                               
things they  could do to  benefit the community, and  vice versa.                                                               
He  noted that  thirteen agreements  were started  last year  and                                                               
they are looking forward to that continued great partnership.                                                                   
1:46:37 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL HANDY  pointed to  the [JBER  Buckner Fitness                                                               
Center], a $22  million project, and advised it  was completed on                                                               
January 16, to allow airmen and  soldiers living on base to use a                                                               
state-of-the-art fitness  facility and  maintain readiness.   The                                                               
$53 million barracks  will be completed in April  2016, and there                                                               
are 197 other ongoing projects.                                                                                                 
LIEUTENANT GENERAL HANDY reiterated that  joint basing has been a                                                               
success  in  a number  of  ways  such  that  in almost  no  other                                                               
installation  would  a load  master  live  next  door to  a  jump                                                               
master, and  they are proud  of the  airmen and soldiers  and how                                                               
well they've  worked together.   Last year, the military  men and                                                               
women  from JBER  supported the  sockeye fire  during a  horrible                                                               
fire season.   The base played a big part  in supporting Northern                                                               
Edge, the  President of  the United States  (POTUS) visit,  and a                                                               
large success  story with regard  to its Fisher House  last year.                                                               
Fisher  House,  he explained,  is  a  place where  military  men,                                                               
women, and their families who  need medical care can stay without                                                               
paying the high  cost of a hotel room downtown,  and Fisher House                                                               
has been full  or overfull for a long time.   Another success was                                                               
working  with   Army  Medical  Command   wherein  an   annex  was                                                               
established  by taking  13 underutilized  rooms from  the Warrior                                                               
Transition Unit,  and turned them  into Fisher House rooms.   The                                                               
president of the Fisher House  Foundation committed to building a                                                               
second house, he  advised, and they look forward  to that project                                                               
in 2017.                                                                                                                        
1:48:52 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 22, titled                                                               
"Eielson AFB - 354 FW" and  advised the 3d Wing Warriors continue                                                               
to represent  the cutting edge  of air dominance  global mobility                                                               
and command  and control.  He  pointed out they are  all over the                                                               
world and  it would be  an entirely different briefing  to advise                                                               
the committee  of everything  the 3d Wing  and their  airmen have                                                               
done  over the  past  years.   He  noted  there  was fairly  high                                                               
attention  brought because  "we were  very involved  in both  the                                                               
Ebola  response and  the  Nepal earthquake  from  a mobility  and                                                               
command  and control  perspective."   The  3d  Wing Warriors  are                                                               
involved all  year long in  exercises such as, Northern  Edge and                                                               
Red Flag, and  engaged across the community  of all opportunities                                                               
listed at  the bottom of the  slide.  He noted  the word "Norcom"                                                               
is not seen on many DoD slides  because they do not receive a lot                                                               
of military construction money.   President Barack Obama's budget                                                               
is  coming  out  today  and  is expected  to  include  the  AWACS                                                               
facility  because, he  explained, the  962d Airborne  Air Control                                                               
Squadron has a  severely out-of-date building.   An updated AWACS                                                               
facility  will   address  the  following  problems:   a  modified                                                               
aircraft  is  arriving  soon;  improving  the  E-3s  requires  an                                                               
expansion in  the facility; and the  fact they have had  no alert                                                               
facility in that  building since its existence  even though these                                                               
airmen sit  alert.  The  airmen have to  sit in a  quarters where                                                               
they are closer to their airplane  and double up in there, and it                                                               
still does not offer the necessary response time.                                                                               
1:50:15 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 23, titled                                                               
"DoD Wide Initiative"  and advised that the ice men  of the 354th                                                               
continue to  pioneer an incredible  training platform  by running                                                               
their  Red  Flag  series  of   exercises  from  [the  far]  north                                                               
supporting  the Joint  Pacific Alaska  Range Complex  (JPARC) and                                                               
its aggressor  squadron.  As  discussed last year,  he reiterated                                                               
they are  the preferred  alternative to  the first  overseas base                                                               
for F-35s, and the environment  impact statement (EIS) is ongoing                                                               
with  no  significant  obstacles.   The  Record  of  Decision  is                                                               
expected in April, 2016, at which  point they can start saying F-                                                               
35s are coming,  as opposed to "it's  the preferred alternative."                                                               
He advised that many lessons  were learned from previous F-35 and                                                               
F-22 bed  down, and are  capitalizing on those imperatives.   The                                                               
request  for a  slightly larger  amount of  money was  granted to                                                               
build  a  few  newer  facilities   that  were  better  optimized.                                                               
Essentially,  he  related,  an approximate  $500  million  Milcon                                                               
Construction and O&N Construction project  is about to roll in up                                                               
there, assuming favorable approval of the EIS.                                                                                  
1:51:31 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY remarked  that modernization of  the 64                                                               
year old treasure, called the  "Combined Heat and Power Plant" is                                                               
ongoing and military construction money  is continually put in to                                                               
replace the boilers,  which explains the large hole  in the plant                                                               
as that  is the only way  to get the  old boiler out and  the new                                                               
boiler in.  He described them  as the cleanest six burner boilers                                                               
in the  state and  it continues  to be a  national asset  to keep                                                               
that base warm, and noted they  beat EPA standards by 100 percent                                                               
when boiler  six was  finished.  Boiler  five is  currently being                                                               
replaced,  and  boiler  four  will  be  replaced  in  FY2017,  he                                                               
1:54:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL  interjected that  not  long  ago that  was  on                                                               
critical status.                                                                                                                
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL HANDY  agreed,  and commented  that  it is  a                                                               
large success  story.  In the  event a particular amount  of that                                                               
capacity  is  lost,  the  base will  be  evacuated  because  when                                                               
buildings  start freezing  in Interior  Alaska they  freeze hard.                                                               
The Air Force made a cost  decision when it installed new housing                                                               
units in Alaska  and put the utilities  underground, many without                                                               
utilidors.   Quite frankly, he  offered, the Air Force  is paying                                                               
for that  now.   Infrastructure damage  is discovered  every year                                                               
and there  is an ongoing seven  phase project to replace  it with                                                               
state-of-the-art  utility  infrastructure during  Alaska's  short                                                               
construction season, he said.                                                                                                   
1:53:46 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY reminded  the committee of  the P-Frost                                                               
fluorocarbon contamination  discovered within the aquifer  in the                                                               
underground water  system, possibly  due to  an old  KC-135 crash                                                               
and the  fire retardant  used to  put it out.   The  community of                                                               
Moose  Creek  is  downstream  from  the  crash  site,  where  the                                                               
majority of the contamination was  discovered, and it is believed                                                               
contaminants  sunk into  the ground  and into  the water  system.                                                               
There are no federal EPA standards  on what level is too high for                                                               
P-frost, and it hasn't been  classified.  He advised that bottled                                                               
water  was immediately  delivered to  everyone and  began putting                                                               
filtration systems  in the wells, which  is going very well.   He                                                               
advised there have  been discussions of undertaking  a North Pole                                                               
Municipal water connection  to Moose Creek and the  base, and the                                                               
cost comparisons are being prepared.                                                                                            
1:54:55 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY continued  discussing successes  in the                                                               
354th  and noted  they continue  to operate  the state-of-the-art                                                               
Joint  Pacific  Alaska  Range  Complex  (JPARC)  adversaries  for                                                               
across the  Pacific Air Forces.   He advised his  aggressors from                                                               
Eielson Air  Force Base are on  Okinawa Island at the  Kadena Air                                                               
Base currently training  with the 525th Fighter  Squadron who was                                                               
based at JBER, and operate Red Flag.                                                                                            
1:55:22 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 24, titled                                                               
"Force and Family"  and advised that Secretary  of Defense Ashton                                                               
"Ash"  Carter  has  been  very  aggressive  at  tackling  "people                                                               
issues" which  can be hard and  challenging issues.    The "Force                                                               
of the Future"  is a large series of initiatives  with much of it                                                               
contained within  the "President's Budget (PB)"  PB17 rolling out                                                               
today.  He  explained the categories include: taking  care of the                                                               
people  they  have;  and recognizing  survey  data  and  feedback                                                               
information  received from  the service  men and  women departing                                                               
the service.   Service  members have pointed  out that  they must                                                               
leave the service because they can't  meet all of their duties as                                                               
an  airman or  soldier  and  also take  care  of their  families.                                                               
Therefore,   he  said,   the   initiatives  include:   increasing                                                               
maternity  and paternity  leave; giving  folks the  capability to                                                               
leave  the service  for a  period of  time to  pursue a  civilian                                                               
education,  professional opportunities,  or  have  a family,  and                                                               
without  penalty return  to the  service; addressing  transgender                                                               
issues; defining  gender dysphoria;  and what is  a disqualifying                                                               
event versus  an event  that should  not disqualify  someone from                                                               
1:56:55 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  HANDY  turned  to the  issue  of  arming  of                                                               
service members and  he advised that the policy is  out there and                                                               
it  does   allow  commanders  to   augment  security   forces  if                                                               
necessary.  He  related that the commanders are  taking that very                                                               
slowly,  and commented  that certainly  the  commanders have  the                                                               
capacity  and  legal   authority  to  do  such,   but  there  are                                                               
challenging use  of force  issues.   He explained  their security                                                               
forces are  police officers who  go through intense  training and                                                               
certification to understand  the mechanics of that,  and they are                                                               
moving carefully and slowly in that regard.                                                                                     
1:57:31 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY directed attention to  slide 25, titled                                                               
"Thank You for Your Support"  and suggested the committee members                                                               
visit  bases and  speak with  the men  and women  in uniform  and                                                               
asking  the members  what is  on their  minds, such  as, how  are                                                               
things  in the  military, what's  keeping them  up at  night, and                                                               
what can  the committee address  for them.   He advised  that the                                                               
service members are  concerned about retirement, they  want to be                                                               
certain their  family is taken  care of,  they want to  serve but                                                               
"these  big strategic  trades that  we are  having to  make," how                                                               
much  money will  be spent  on modernization  versus medical  and                                                               
retirement benefits,  and how will  all of that fit  together and                                                               
still have an O&M budget to  operate.  Those questions are on the                                                               
minds of military  men and women across the board.   There was an                                                               
issue  with  the   Cost  of  Living  Allowance   (COLA)  with  an                                                               
unexpected and dramatic  drop.  They addressed  the Department of                                                               
Defense  (DoD) on  that and  received an  immediate re-evaluation                                                               
and re-survey that  brought that COLA back up.   Although, not to                                                               
the level  it was, but  in many areas it  came up almost  to that                                                               
level.    The feedback  on  housing  and the  privatized  housing                                                               
projects revealed that folks are  happy with the housing they are                                                               
living in.   He related  they have  a close partnership  with the                                                               
Veterans Affairs  to ensure that  the VA's trauma  doesn't impact                                                               
their men  and women, and  noted there  have been no  issues with                                                               
medical.   He  related that  the  PB17 includes  the new  blended                                                               
retirement  system, and  so far  the feedback  has been  good but                                                               
there is a long way to go for that.                                                                                             
1:59:13 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  HANDY advised  that the "Blue  Star Families"                                                               
organization conducted  a survey last  year, and he  compared the                                                               
concerns of the men and women  in uniform in Alaska's to those of                                                               
the national  responses.  He  remarked that the  highest concerns                                                               
include: uncertainty with military  life style; uncertainty about                                                               
job security due  to the force structure  adjustments and changes                                                               
in the  types of people  the nation need  to serve in  uniform to                                                               
meet tomorrow's  challenges; retirement and whether  they will be                                                               
financially  secure; child  care  is a  concern because  military                                                               
families want to take care  of their children's mental, physical,                                                               
and educational,  wellbeing; concern,  for the  second year  in a                                                               
row,  over housing  costs  being higher  than  at their  previous                                                               
station; 73  percent of active  duty families  reported incurring                                                               
unexpected  expenses primarily  due  to  the military  lifestyle,                                                               
such  as packing  up and  moving;  and 7  percent of  respondents                                                               
reported  home schooling  which,  he commented,  is greater  than                                                               
double the rate in the  U.S. general population because folks are                                                               
concerned about  re-establishing in  a new  school, understanding                                                               
the curriculum,  and to  somehow find  the way  in.   He reported                                                               
that   military  home   schooling  has   prompted  a   number  of                                                               
organizations  and  programs  to  help  home  schoolers  who  are                                                               
grateful to interact with the public school system.                                                                             
2:01:57 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  HANDY  expressed his  appreciation  for  the                                                               
committee's time  and the ability  to discuss what  the fantastic                                                               
men and women  in uniform are doing.  In  the event someone feels                                                               
a bit  discouraged about the  future of the nation,  he suggested                                                               
going to  one of his  flight lines, into  a shop, or  hanging out                                                               
with  some of  Brian's Soldiers,  and he  guaranteed people  will                                                               
have a new feeling about the  nation's future.  The men and women                                                               
of the Air Force today are  developing new and innovative ways of                                                               
taking  on the  list of  challenges with  new innovative  ways of                                                               
defending our nation.                                                                                                           
2:02:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL  noted  that   the  members  of  the  committee                                                               
appreciate the Air Force's investment  in Alaska which it is part                                                               
of the  economy, and  that he intends  to ensure  the legislature                                                               
keeps that  in focus  when discussing the  economy and  that most                                                               
legislators are trying to make it work.   Due to the 24 hour news                                                               
cycles, the things  that go on in the world,  the public may have                                                               
a tendency  to be a bit  downhearted, and he agreed  that America                                                               
is in good hands.                                                                                                               
2:03:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX  commented that Lieutenant General  Handy said he                                                               
would be  bragging about the  men and  women in uniform,  and she                                                               
pointed out it is not bragging  when a person is just telling the                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL HANDY responded that he completely agrees.                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL  asked  Lieutenant  General Handy  to  let  his                                                               
superiors know  the committee appreciates  allowing him  to brief                                                               
the committee  as they  are joined  at the  hip with  the Pacific                                                               
Command.  The  committee needs to continually  remind itself that                                                               
Alaska, both  an Arctic  State and  a Pacific  State, is  a North                                                               
American  bulwark in  many  ways.   He  complimented  him on  his                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL HANDY said he will pass along his message.                                                                   
2:04:54 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 2:04 p.m. to 2:10 p.m.                                                                       
2:10:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL BRYAN OWENS, Commanding  General, U.S. Army Alaska,                                                               
advised his briefing would present  the United States Army Alaska                                                               
(USARAK) "America's  Arctic Warriors," but first  would present a                                                               
five  minute command  video  of the  Joint  Pacific Alaska  Range                                                               
Complex (JPARC)  put together by  soldiers as seen  through their                                                               
2:11:15 PM                                                                                                                    
[Video of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC).]                                                                      
2:16:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS remarked that  if that video didn't  get the                                                               
members'  heart strings  tugged or  their blood  flowing, nothing                                                               
will.  He  has been in the  Army over 32 years  and, he expressed                                                               
that  as a  short-timer and  first-timer in  Alaska he  has never                                                               
seen such support the Alaskan  communities offer, and thanked the                                                               
committee for its support.                                                                                                      
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  directed  attention  to  slide  1,  titled                                                               
"Mission Command" of the PowerPoint  presentation and advised the                                                               
picture  was  taken two  weeks  ago  during their  Arctic  Winter                                                               
Games.   It is one  squad of  twenty-one squads that  competed to                                                               
show  their skills,  commitment,  and  endurance, throughout  the                                                               
Winter Games  which, he pointed  out is what Alaskan  soldiers do                                                               
every day.   Major General Owens said he is  aware this committee                                                               
fully understands  the details and  he will  go over some  of the                                                               
changes that have occurred since the briefing last year.                                                                        
2:18:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  directed  attention  to  slide  2,  titled                                                               
"Mission Command" and the Mission read as follows:                                                                              
     USARAK provides trained and ready  forces in support of                                                                    
     worldwide  unified  land  operation;  supports  theater                                                                    
     engagement   in   the   Pacific/Arctic   and   military                                                                    
     operations in the AK-JOA, in order to contribute to a                                                                      
     stable and secure operational environment.                                                                                 
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS explained it  is a threefold mission, and the                                                               
primary mission  portion is providing  trained and  ready forces.                                                               
General Mark Milley, Chief of  Staff of the Army, advised several                                                               
times that  the Army's purpose is  to fight and win  our nation's                                                               
wars in  a complex environment,  and that is  what they do.   The                                                               
United  States Army  Alaska (USARAK)  provides trained  and ready                                                               
forces,  supports  the  theater  engagement in  the  Pacific  and                                                               
Arctic, and  military operations in Alaska,  including everything                                                               
from humanitarian assistance disaster  relief to any actual other                                                               
military operation  that may occur.   Last  year, he said  he was                                                               
the Commanding  General for  the United  States Army  Alaska, and                                                               
Deputy Commander for Alaska Command,  and advised he is no longer                                                               
the  Deputy   Commander  for  Alaska  Command   but  assured  the                                                               
committee  USARAK   is  on   the  preferred   sourcing  solution.                                                               
Although,  USARAK  does  not  have  a  formal  relationship  with                                                               
NORTHCOM  and  ALCOM,  he  reiterated   they  are  the  preferred                                                               
sourcing  solution, and  he remains  in close  collaboration with                                                               
Lieutenant General Handy and his staff.                                                                                         
2:19:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS pointed  to the  left side  of slide  2, and                                                               
advised that  his boss  is United  States Army  Pacific Commander                                                               
General Vincent  Brooks who works  for Admiral Harry  Harris, the                                                               
PACOM Commander.   A relationship  was also established  with 1st                                                               
Corps,  a training  readiness  authority's  relationship, and  he                                                               
takes  guidance   and  gives   semi-annual  training   briefs  to                                                               
Lieutenant   General   Stephen    Lanza   on   their   readiness.                                                               
Restructuring  has taken  place since  the last  briefing and  he                                                               
does  not have  any general  officers other  than himself  in the                                                               
United  States Army  Alaska (USARAK).   He  does have  two deputy                                                               
commanders, Canadian Army Colonel  Martin Frank on the operations                                                               
side,  who is  on loan  from Canada  and he  has performed  great                                                               
work.   Colonel  Sean  Reed is  to be  the  deputy commander  for                                                               
sustainment across the entire United  States Army Alaska (USARAK)                                                               
enterprise as opposed to only watching over Fort Wainwright.                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS advised  that no changes  have been  made to                                                               
the  1st Stryker  Brigades, "still  333 hard  charging Strykers,"                                                               
with  maintenance issues  due to  the environment,  but they  are                                                               
trained and ready and always out  and on the go and the committee                                                               
is  aware.   There have  been several  changes within  the USARAK                                                               
Aviation Task  Force.  He  highlighted that they are  building an                                                               
attack  reconnaissance  battalion  of AH-64  Apache  helicopters,                                                               
they  have  20 of  the  24  helicopters  in,  and will  be  fully                                                               
operational in September.                                                                                                       
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS advised that  the establishment date for Gray                                                               
Eagle Company is  next week, with an upgraded  MQ-1 Predator with                                                               
enhanced capabilities to the Aviation  Task Force.  Training will                                                               
begin in  April and its  first flight  should be early  April, he                                                               
2:22:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL pointed out to the  general public that it is an                                                               
unmanned aerial vehicle.                                                                                                        
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS agreed.                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR COGHILL said he appreciates  the work that has been done                                                               
both there and with the University of Alaska on that very issue.                                                                
2:23:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  directed  attention  to  slide  3,  titled                                                               
"Trained  and   Ready  Forces"  and   advised  that   Joint  Base                                                               
Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER)  is starting to  feel the  effects of                                                               
the 25 percent  reduction at headquarters and most of  that is on                                                               
range  operations,  but  they are  watching  it  closely,  making                                                               
adjustments and mitigating that.                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL OWENS  turned to  the restructure  of the  425 and                                                               
related that United  States Senator Dan Sullivan  asked the Chief                                                               
of Staff of the Army to  reconsider the decision announced on the                                                               
9th of July, 2015.  He remarked,  they do not know what that will                                                               
look like,  but one-half of  the unit  has deployed to  the Joint                                                               
Readiness  Training Center  (JRTC), Fort  Polk, Louisiana.   They                                                               
will  be training  for the  next  three weeks  at Ft.  Polk in  a                                                               
validation  exercise  of the  Airborne  Task  Force.   They  will                                                               
provide  observations, and  it  will inform  a  decision for  the                                                               
Chief of  Staff of the  Army which  is expected within  the April                                                               
timeframe.    He explained  that  the  Northern Warfare  Training                                                               
Center  (NWTC)  is  a  United  States  Army  Alaska  installation                                                               
located in Black  Rapids, Alaska, and described it  as the Active                                                               
Army's  only Cold  Region  Training Proponent.    It provides  an                                                               
opportunity  to train  the American  Arctic  Warriors on  extreme                                                               
cold   weather,  military   mountaineering,  and   partnering  by                                                               
exchanges of instructors, he related.                                                                                           
2:24:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  directed  attention  to  slide  4,  titled                                                               
"Supporting  Unified Land  Operations" and  advised "our  primary                                                               
function."   He advised they  have been involved  in Afghanistan,                                                               
Kuwait, and Iraq, with troops  in both Kuwait and Afghanistan for                                                               
Operation  Freedom Sentinel.   Recently,  the 4th  Brigade Combat                                                               
Team  (Airborne),  25th  Infantry Division  (425)  returned  from                                                               
their  Kosovo deployment.   The  slide points  out that  they are                                                               
globally responsive and regionally engaged.                                                                                     
2:25:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS directed attention  to slide  5, "Supporting                                                               
Unified  Land  Operations"  and   advised  they  support  theater                                                               
engagements  through  two  lenses, Asia-Pacific  and  the  Arctic                                                               
Lens.   They  focus  on countries  with  high altitude,  military                                                               
mountaineering, or  extreme cold weather regions  such as, Japan,                                                               
Nepal, Chile,  India, Mongolia, Canada, Norway,  Sweden, Finland,                                                               
and Denmark.   He explained that under the Arctic  Lens they work                                                               
primarily with the  Arctic 8, minus Russia and  Iceland, who does                                                               
not have  an army.   The  army maintains  strong ties  with these                                                               
countries and partners  to deter aggression and  ensure peace and                                                               
stability  in  the  region.   Last  year,  he  highlighted,  they                                                               
conducted  a cold  region  military mountaineering  collaborative                                                               
training  event at  the USARAK  Northern  Worker Training  Center                                                               
[based at Fort Wainwright] with  12 nations attending.  This year                                                               
27 nations  and other U.S.  agencies have been invited  to attend                                                               
in March, 2016.                                                                                                                 
2:26:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LEDOUX noted  that Chile  is included  under the  Asia-                                                               
Pacific listing and it appears misplaced.                                                                                       
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS  explained that Chile has a  ski school, high                                                               
altitude, extreme cold weather,  mountainous terrain, and it sees                                                               
itself  Western-looking into  the Pacific.   Chile  asked General                                                               
Brooks and  Admiral Harris  to be part  of the  Pacific equation,                                                               
and "we  have sent some  instructors" over to Chile's  ski school                                                               
and  it will  send instructors  to the  United States  to jointly                                                               
collaborate on best practices.                                                                                                  
2:28:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS directed attention  to slide 6, "Military Ops                                                               
in  the Alaska  JOA" and  highlighted  that the  Arctic Anvil  is                                                               
multi-national.   The three-fold  exercise begins  at the  end of                                                               
July 2016, just  before Red Flag.  The first  exercise is a train                                                               
up for  First Stryker  Brigade, with  a National  Training Center                                                               
(NTC) rotation  January 2017, and  a Full  Operational Capability                                                               
(FOC) for the operational construct  for the Joint Pacific Multi-                                                               
National Readiness  Capability.  He  described it as  basically a                                                               
Combat  Training Center  Directorate  (CTCD) in  a box  providing                                                               
higher  control,  observer/controller   trainers,  and  providing                                                               
instrumentation throughout.   They are  being put to the  test in                                                               
Hawaii with  the 25th Infantry  Division, and "we will  take them                                                               
to their  final exercise"  before they  are fully  operational in                                                               
2:29:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS explained that  is part of  Pacific Pathways                                                               
and; therefore, Arctic Anvil will be  part of a trifecta of other                                                               
exercises ongoing  throughout the U.S.  Army Pacific.   In March,                                                               
2015, the  Stryker Brigade was sent  to Korea, Japan.   This year                                                               
they will be in Alaska.   He turned to "Wildfire Suppression" and                                                               
reminded the  committee there were  quite a few fires  last year,                                                               
not  one fire  was set  by the  U.S. Army  or the  U.S. military,                                                               
which was  a big deal  because they were up  in the 700s  in July                                                               
when he took over.  He  said they worked closely with Alaska Fire                                                               
Service, the  army's L&O  team has  gone from  two to  eight, and                                                               
they provide  incredible science  behind the  art of  keeping the                                                               
fires  from  occurring as  the  army  continues to  increase  its                                                               
training in  its training areas.   It  allows them to  train year                                                               
around and  not set fire and  mitigate the fires they  do set, he                                                               
2:31:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL  offered his appreciation of  less smoke because                                                               
the Interior has the Park  Training Area, and the Fort Wainwright                                                               
Bombing Area, and the Interior  had enough fires without the army                                                               
setting fires.   Seriously, he noted, the state  is grateful that                                                               
the army's  benefit of  training is also  the state's  benefit to                                                               
fire suppression.                                                                                                               
2:31:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS related that  they lost 21 training days last                                                               
year due to  smoke in the Interior,  and they want to  get as far                                                               
left  of fires  as possible,  whether  inside or  outside of  the                                                               
training areas.   There  were eleven  search and  rescue missions                                                               
[last  year], nine  were Alaska  State Trooper  assists, and  two                                                               
were  downed aircraft  and, he  related  they flew  approximately                                                               
43.2 hours in search and rescue  and assisting inside Alaska.  As                                                               
to  mutual aid,  they  responded to  the  Explosive Safety  Guide                                                               
(EOD) and the fire department's response to Fort Wainwright.                                                                    
2:33:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS directed attention  to slide 7, "Vision," and                                                               
advised  the new  vision statement  captures the  essence of  who                                                               
they are, which read as follows:                                                                                                
     America's  Arctic  warriors  ready to  fight  and  win.                                                                    
     Forged in Alaska, ready  and resilient, strengthened by                                                                    
     Civilians   and  Families.     Strategically   located,                                                                    
     globally responsive, and regionally engaged.                                                                               
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS related that  the army's sole purpose  is to                                                               
fight and win our nation's wars in complex environments.                                                                        
2:33:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL OWENS  directed attention  to slide  8, "America's                                                               
Arctic Warriors Ready to Fight  and Win Anywhere" and pointed out                                                               
that they  do not just train  in cold weather, they  live in cold                                                               
weather in cold  weather regions.  America's  Arctic Warriors are                                                               
postured to fight  and win anywhere on the globe,  and 31 percent                                                               
of  the  world are  cold  climates,  with 27  percent  considered                                                               
mountainous, he pointed out.                                                                                                    
2:34:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  directed attention  to  slide  9,  "Arctic                                                               
Region Relationships"  and reiterated  they collaborate  with the                                                               
Arctic  8 minus  Russia  and Iceland,  which includes  exchanging                                                               
instructors and,  he commented,  all of  the countries  intend to                                                               
attend  the  collaborative  training  event in  March,  at  Black                                                               
Rapids, Alaska.                                                                                                                 
2:35:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS directed  attention  to  slide 10,  "Arctic                                                               
Presence" and the  Air Force Pegasus series, and  explained it is                                                               
an  operation in  Deadhorse,  Alaska that  will  take place  next                                                               
March.  The  expectation is that along with  the maneuver, either                                                               
Stryker or  Airborne, will introduce  the Apache  Helicopters and                                                               
"do  a   FARC  operation  forward   area,  arming   and  resupply                                                               
position."  They will move from  there up to Deadhorse, perform a                                                               
downed aircraft  search and  rescue with  one of  those aircraft,                                                               
and  then work  through some  of the  communications pieces  [Co-                                                               
Chair Coghill] mentioned  earlier.  He pointed to  the picture on                                                               
the right  of slide 10, and  said they partner with  DoD partners                                                               
in academia, and  also have a strong tie with  (indisc.) labs and                                                               
PEO soldiers to improve the  survivability of our soldiers in the                                                               
Arctic region.                                                                                                                  
2:36:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS directed attention  to slide 11,  "Forged in                                                               
Alaska"  and expressed  pride in  the Joint  Pacific-Alaska Range                                                               
Complex (JPARC).  The ground  maneuver training area is 2.5 times                                                               
the  size  of  the  National   Training  Center  (NTC),  and  the                                                               
relationship between  the National Guard  and the U.S.  Air Force                                                               
here  is extraordinary.   He  expressed pride  that this  type of                                                               
relationship cannot be found in any  other area in the world.  He                                                               
noted  the training  areas are  close  to the  Arctic Circle  and                                                               
Fairbanks is only 120 miles from the Arctic Circle.                                                                             
2:37:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS directed attention  to slide 12,  "Ready and                                                               
Resilient" and  pointed out that  they build resiliency  into the                                                               
troops with  numerous programs,  and they  work closely  with the                                                               
communities.   He stressed that  Lieutenant General Handy  and he                                                               
are amazed and humbled by their  soldiers these days and are very                                                               
proud of them.  Alaska builds  resiliency just by being here, and                                                               
Alaska's soldiers are  definitely resilient.  He  said, "We don't                                                               
just have soldiers  in the army; our soldiers are  the Army," and                                                               
it is important to focus on the soldiers.                                                                                       
2:38:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR   GENERAL   OWENS   directed   attention   to   slide   13,                                                               
"Strategically   Located"  and   reminded   the  committee   that                                                               
Lieutenant   General  Handy   discussed   the   issue  of   being                                                               
strategically  located.   He explained  that in  order to  launch                                                               
from the  East Coast, the flight  is over Alaska to  get anywhere                                                               
in the world, and it's only a  nine hour flight into Germany.  He                                                               
reiterated Lieutenant  General Handy  by saying that  many people                                                               
look  at the  map in  a flat  fashion rather  than the  manner in                                                               
which  it is  designed,  and Alaska  is definitely  strategically                                                               
located.   He pointed to  the bottom on  the slide which  read as                                                               
follows:    "Alaska is  the  most  strategic  place on  earth"  -                                                               
Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, Testimony to Congress 1935.                                                                   
2:38:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  GENERAL OWENS  directed attention  to slide  14, "Globally                                                               
Responsive  & Regionally  Engaged"  and related  that  he is  not                                                               
going to go  through this busy slide.  He  said his intention was                                                               
to  show they  are  globally responsive  and regionally  engaged.                                                               
The slide depicts the many places  they are located, and the many                                                               
things the soldiers have been  doing since FY14, which covers the                                                               
entire globe, he said.                                                                                                          
2:39:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS directed attention to  slides 15-16, "USARAK                                                               
is a Community of Excellence" and  described the slide as a short                                                               
list of our soldier's accomplishments,  and he discussed a few of                                                               
the accomplishments listed on the slide.                                                                                        
2:40:56 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  COLONEL TIM  JONES, U.S.  Army, Retired,  referred to                                                               
the  statement that  the JRTC  rotation  is a  validation of  the                                                               
Airborne Task  Force, and  asked whether  they are  organized and                                                               
manned at the same level they  would be if the reduction in force                                                               
directive occurs.                                                                                                               
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS  responded no, they are not  manned at 1,046,                                                               
they have  manned at 1,600  and the intent is  to be able  to see                                                               
possible weaknesses  in the formation.   He explained  they chose                                                               
1,600 because  they believe the  1,046 is an Airborne  Task Force                                                               
but  not  joint  forcible  entry  capable.    Commanding  General                                                               
Vincent Brooks and  the Chief of Staff of the  Army, General Mark                                                               
Milley  asked them  to look  at  a joint  forcible entry  capable                                                               
formation that is autonomous for  72 hours.  He explained "you've                                                               
got  to be  able  to  jump in,  expand  (indisc.),  and bring  in                                                               
(indisc.)  air land  aircraft."   In  order  to accomplish  that,                                                               
1,600 is the correct level to do the validation, he opined.                                                                     
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS offered that  the entire 4th  Brigade Combat                                                               
Team,  25th Infantry  Division (425),  Brigade Combat  Team (BCT)                                                               
will  be at  JRTC.   The  first part  is a  joint forcible  entry                                                               
operation  on  the  evening  of  February  16,  and  Senator  Dan                                                               
Sullivan  intends   to  attend  and   be  there  for   the  jump.                                                               
Subsequent  to  the joint  forcible  entry  operation, they  will                                                               
reset,  introduce  the rest  of  the  brigade, and  continue  the                                                               
rotation with  a defense and  offensive operation.   Thereby, the                                                               
entire 425 will be trained and  ready coming out of this CTC, and                                                               
will also be  able to provide input to inform  the Chief of Staff                                                               
of the  Army's decision on  the first  portion of this,  which is                                                               
the Airborne  Task Force.   He opined  it could be  anything from                                                               
1,046 to  the entire  brigade combat team  (BCT) remaining  as it                                                               
is.   The decision  is unknown,  but the  Department of  the Army                                                               
staff said  the decision was  made.  He  said, "So, 1,046  is the                                                               
decision."  General Mark Milley  promised three things to Senator                                                               
Sullivan, such that he would  visit Alaska, he would maintain the                                                               
BCT at  85 percent strength until  he makes his decision,  and he                                                               
would  relook at  the  decision, and  he is  doing  all three  of                                                               
those.  A decision is  expected sometime after the JRTC rotation,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
2:44:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BISHOP noted  the Gray  Eagles will  be first  flight in                                                               
early April, and asked how many aircraft total in that package.                                                                 
MAJOR  GENERAL OWENS  related that  the full  package is  12, and                                                               
they are  receiving 6  aircraft due  to slowdowns  in production.                                                               
They will  maintain 6 until there  is a decision to  send 3 more,                                                               
making their total compliment 9 aircraft at Fort Wainwright.                                                                    
SENATOR BISHOP asked where they will be bedded down.                                                                            
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS reiterated, Fort Wainwright.   Currently, it                                                               
will be in Hanger 1 in  Fort Wainwright, but they are hopeful the                                                               
MILCON piece will be approved for a new hanger, he added.                                                                       
SENATOR BISHOP  commented that  Alaska is  bragging proud  of its                                                               
military, and opined some people at  the table may be army brats.                                                               
He related a story about his father while in the service.                                                                       
2:47:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL remarked the Interior  sees the Strykers move on                                                               
a fairly regular basis, and it  is to be commended that they move                                                               
well and  allow traffic  to flow  on some  of Alaska's  small and                                                               
congested areas,  such as Richardson  Highway.  The army  has set                                                               
out  to move  fairly freely  between the  Fairbanks area  and the                                                               
Black Rapids  area.   When he  sees a convoy  moving he  tries to                                                               
make sure  he is  on a  double-lane road,  but they  have allowed                                                               
traffic to  move fairly  well and have  kept the  complaints low.                                                               
He asked  that Major  General Owens pass  his appreciation  on to                                                               
the organizer.                                                                                                                  
2:48:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS extended his  appreciation and commented that                                                               
much thought  goes into [moving],  such as everything  from Moose                                                               
hunting season to traffic on the  roadways.  He said they want to                                                               
be able  to train and be  prepared to fight and  win our nation's                                                               
wars, and  at the same time  be good neighbors and  good citizens                                                               
of the communities.                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  LEDOUX said  she is  glad to  have Major  General Owens                                                               
2:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL advised this briefing  was the time to hear from                                                               
him on  his mission and  that the committee  wants to join  in on                                                               
the mission with  America.  Geography is a big  deal, he related,                                                               
and the committee wants to be  supportive as much as possible but                                                               
the only  way they can be  supportive is to get  these high level                                                               
briefings, he advised.                                                                                                          
2:49:50 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 2:49 p.m. to 2:54 p.m.                                                                       
2:54:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL invited the next  presenter to come forward, and                                                               
noted the committee packet includes  the Code of Military Justice                                                               
[version]  the House  of Representatives  passed, and  the Senate                                                               
has not yet taken it up.                                                                                                        
2:55:38 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL  LAURIE  HUMMEL,  Commissioner,  Department  of                                                               
Military  & Veterans  Affairs,  Alaska  National Guard,  Adjutant                                                               
General, said  she would like to  offer the military side  of the                                                               
Department  of  Military  &  Veterans   Affairs  (DMVA)  and  its                                                               
accomplishments   in  the   past   year,   and  discuss   current                                                               
initiatives and future plans.  She  related this is her 36th year                                                               
in  uniform and  noted  that Lieutenant  General  Handy said  the                                                               
airmen and soldiers  serving in Alaska are happy  here because it                                                               
feels like home.   She related that "this is our  home and we are                                                               
2:58:09 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  directed  attention to  slide 2,  "DMVA                                                               
Mission" and advised it is in statute, which read:                                                                              
     To  provide  military  forces  to  accomplish  military                                                                    
     missions  in the  state or  around  the world;  provide                                                                    
     homeland security and  defense; emergency preparedness,                                                                    
     response,  and recovery;  veterans services;  and youth                                                                    
     military style training and education.                                                                                     
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  directed  attention to  slide 3,  "Core                                                               
Services"  and  explained  they  have  reinterpreted  their  DMVA                                                               
mission into four core services to the state, which read:                                                                       
     Defend and Protect Alaska and the United States                                                                            
     Disaster Preparedness/Response and Recovery                                                                                
     Outreach to Veterans and Military Families                                                                                 
     Youth Intervention                                                                                                         
ADJUTANT GENERAL  HUMMEL noted there are  strong linkages between                                                               
the first  two.   Yet, she explained,  linking all  four together                                                               
takes a  bit of creative thinking  but that is exactly  what they                                                               
are   doing  within   the  department   to  breakdown   silos  of                                                               
independent activity and to work together synergistically.                                                                      
2:58:07 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  directed  attention to  slide 4,  "DMVA                                                               
Vision  and  Core  Values"  and   offered  that  to  assist  with                                                               
synchronizing the  efforts in the  department, she  did developed                                                               
departmental  vision  and  core  values  to  help  integrate  its                                                               
diverse missions and activities, which read:                                                                                    
     Vision: Through  constant collaboration  internally and                                                                    
     with  external  partners,   DMVA  implements  a  viable                                                                    
     Arctic   strategy,   increases   emergency   management                                                                    
     capacity,   and   expands   engagement   with   Alaskan                                                                    
     communities,  all   while  achieving   federal  mission                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  noted  that when  reviewing the  Vision                                                               
statement,  there are  essentially three  major objectives.   The                                                               
first  is executing  viable Arctic  strategy.   She pointed  out,                                                               
there  are 53  other  National  Guards in  49  other states,  but                                                               
Alaska is the  only state that makes the United  States an Arctic                                                               
Nation, and  it makes sense to  follow the lead of  Governor Bill                                                               
Walker and the  legislature to be at the  forefront of developing                                                               
and  executing  an  arctic  policy.   The  second  effort  is  to                                                               
increase  emergency  management  capacity  and,  she  said,  they                                                               
deliberately chose  the words  "increase" and  "capacity" because                                                               
words mean  things.  It  is known  that the Division  of Homeland                                                               
Security  and  Emergency  Management  within  the  Department  of                                                               
Military &  Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is  filled with professionals                                                               
but they  can't do it alone.   That is where  increasing capacity                                                               
comes in and she commented  that they can increase their capacity                                                               
through  refining  processes,  developing  mission  partners,  or                                                               
improving  their  own individual  resilience.    For example,  by                                                               
building a  seven day  emergency kit, available  for free  on the                                                               
department's web  site.   The department knows  that in  order to                                                               
increase  capacity  they must  conduct  outreach  which leads  to                                                               
engagement  with  Alaskan  communities.     Typically,  the  word                                                               
"community" denotes a  geographic area but there  are other types                                                               
of Alaskan  communities, such as  the community of  the military,                                                               
veterans, emergency  managers, and pet  owners.  The  outreach is                                                               
focused on  physical areas and  the people living in  those areas                                                               
who  come  together  to  create  communities  of  commonality  of                                                               
3:00:51 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  pointed to  the words  "federal mission                                                               
assurance" within the  vision statement, and advised  that all of                                                               
the  divisions within  DMVA and  especially  the National  Guard,                                                               
have  federal  requirements  and  federal funding.    The  Alaska                                                               
National Guard  must maintain appropriate readiness  to fight and                                                               
win our  nation's wars, which is  why they exist and  are funded.                                                               
The  Division   of  Administrative  Services  must   account  and                                                               
document  expenditures accurately  to generate  federal receipts,                                                               
and each division within the department  has a primary task.  She                                                               
related  it is  her job  to integrate  those efforts  and stretch                                                               
[federal]  dollars,   and  to  especially  stretch   the  Alaskan                                                               
dollars,  and to  best  serve Alaskans  at the  same  time.   She                                                               
pointed to the  Rural Engagement Initiative on slide  4, and said                                                               
it  alludes to  the  department-wide outreach  efforts to  assist                                                               
rural communities in  being stronger and more resilient.   On the                                                               
other  hand,  the  Rural  Engagement  Initiative  is  a  specific                                                               
initiative in  the governor's  budget as  an increment  aiming to                                                               
seed  detachments of  the Alaska  State Defense  Force throughout                                                               
rural  Alaska.    Initially,  in  the  Yukon-Kuskokwim  Delta  to                                                               
ultimately   set  enhanced   conditions  for   establishment  and                                                               
retention  in the  National Guard  and other  service components.                                                               
She   then  pointed   to  their   Core  Values,   which  includes                                                               
professionalism, commitment,  and teamwork, and how  they plan to                                                               
continue improving the National Guard and the department.                                                                       
3:02:34 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  directed  attention to  slide 5,  "DMVA                                                               
Commissioner's  Goals"  and explained  these  are  the goals  she                                                               
developed  and  presented to  Governor  Walker  fairly early  on.                                                               
While the goals  may appear simplistic upon first  read, they are                                                               
actually complex  goals requiring  the entire department  to work                                                               
together  to  achieve,  she  explained.     A  theme  within  the                                                               
department is the  breaking down of walls and  integration of one                                                               
division with  the other  as, she  noted, they  are truly  in the                                                               
business of making one plus one equals three.                                                                                   
3:03:04 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  directed  attention to  slide 6,  "DMVA                                                               
Strategy"  and  advised  in  order to  reach  those  goals,  they                                                               
recently created an integrated strategy  with four major lines of                                                               
effort which  lead to the  goal of integrated DMVA  activities to                                                               
create a  more secure and  resilient Alaska.   The four  lines of                                                               
effort  from  the  vision  statement,  and  the  cross-functional                                                               
objectives listed across the bottom  of the slide, are what helps                                                               
them to focus and integrate their efforts.                                                                                      
ADJUTANT   GENERAL  HUMMEL   directed  attention   to  slide   7,                                                               
"Kivalina" and  advised in January  they took an Air  Guard C-130                                                               
on a  training mission  with personnel  from the  National Guard,                                                               
Homeland Security  and Management Division, a  couple of staffers                                                               
from the  Office of the  Governor, and Lieutenant  Governor Byron                                                               
Mallott.   They traveled  to Kotzebue  where they  transferred to                                                               
the Army  Guard Black Hawk  Helicopters and flew on  to Kivalina.                                                               
While  in  Kivalina, Lieutenant  Governor  Mallott  and those  in                                                               
uniform visited  the local  school and  met with  school children                                                               
and leadership.   They  were able to  present information  to the                                                               
community  on  the  National Guard,  the  Alaska  Military  Youth                                                               
Academy, and  Alaska's veteran's services.   While this occurred,                                                               
Mike  O'Hare,   Division  Director   of  Homeland   Security  and                                                               
Emergency Management,  and a team  of his emergency  managers met                                                               
with  the local  emergency planning  committee and  leadership to                                                               
update Kivalina's disaster plans.   She pointed out that this one                                                               
trip demonstrates the ability of DMVA  to provide all of its core                                                               
services at a tremendous cost savings to Alaska.                                                                                
3:04:55 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL HUMMEL  directed attention  to slide  8, "State                                                               
General  Fund  Dollars  Spent  -  DMVA" and  advised  it  is  the                                                               
"becoming famous DMVA  iceberg slide."  The slide  shows that for                                                               
a contribution in this year's  governor's budget of $18.4 million                                                               
of state money the state  receives over $500 [million] in federal                                                               
receipts, the above-water portion of the iceberg.                                                                               
3:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL  HUMMEL  directed  attention to  slide  9,  and                                                               
advised one of her primary jobs  as adjutant general is to ensure                                                               
that the Alaska National Guard is  a relevant force for the state                                                               
and federal governments.  To that  end, they have hosted a number                                                               
of strategic  leader engagements this  year.  She  then explained                                                               
the various events and attendees.   She noted she never misses an                                                               
opportunity to gain  more voice for Alaska, and  usually when she                                                               
travels to  Washington D.C. meets  with the  Alaska congressional                                                               
delegation.    She  noted  she has  discussed  with  Senator  Dan                                                               
Sullivan  everything   from  keeping   army  active   duty  force                                                               
structure in Alaska to the  F-35 basing schedule to combat rescue                                                               
helicopter   fielding.     Recently,  Representative   Don  Young                                                               
introduced the "Rural  Guard and Reserve Act of  2016" removing a                                                               
cap on  reimbursement for travel  to attend training drills.   As                                                               
written  in  the joint  travel  regulation  now,  this cap  is  a                                                               
disincentive because  when a  service member  lives off  the road                                                               
network, many  soldiers have  to pay  more just  to get  to drill                                                               
than  they are  paid for  drilling.   Senator Lisa  Murkowski has                                                               
worked  diligently  with DMVA  to  ensure  the previous  National                                                               
Guard  bad actors  have been  administratively  processed in  the                                                               
most just and  expeditious way possible.   Working in partnership                                                               
with the  congressional delegation has created  new opportunities                                                               
for  the Department  of  Military &  Veterans  Affairs (DMVA)  it                                                               
would  not have  been  able to  create  on its  own.   [Slide  9,                                                               
photographs  of:    former U.S.  Ambassador  to  Mongolia,  Piper                                                               
Campbell; Secretary of  Defense, Ash Carter; 38th  Chief of Staff                                                               
of the U.S. Army General  Ray Odierno; Lieutenant General Timothy                                                               
J. Kadavy Director, Army National  Guard Bureau; Admiral Harry B.                                                               
Harris Jr., Commander, US Pacific Command.]                                                                                     
3:08:28 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL   HUMMEL  directed   attention  to   slide  10,                                                               
"Initiatives" and  noted they have created  initiatives with some                                                               
of the people  in the room.   House Bill 126, the  Alaska Code of                                                               
Military Justice  passed the House  of Representatives with  a 39                                                               
to 0  vote, and asked  that the Senators  at the table  assist by                                                               
moving  the  bill  as  swiftly  as possible.    She  pointed  out                                                               
Lieutenant  Colonel Christopher  Weaver  is  available to  answer                                                               
questions about  the Code of  Military Justice,  the non-judicial                                                               
punishment regulation  that it  will enable, and  how it  will be                                                               
implemented within the force.                                                                                                   
3:09:18 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL  HUMMEL  advised   that  Command  Chief  Master                                                               
Sergeant Paul Nelson recently became  the command senior enlisted                                                               
leader of  the Alaska  National Guard, and  a hand  selected team                                                               
are spearheading an initiative to  improve the ethical fitness of                                                               
the Alaska force.  They will  be working with the U.S. Department                                                               
of  Defense  (DoD)  Office  of  Military  Professionalism  Office                                                               
headed by  Navy Rear  Admiral Margaret  "Peg" Klein,  pictured on                                                               
slide  10,  to  help  design  and  teach  an  "exportable  living                                                               
curriculum"  on this  subject.   Adjutant General  Hummel offered                                                               
that she intends to take full  advantage of DoD assistance as the                                                               
next steps are taken to  re-boot, re-fit, and reform the National                                                               
3:10:04 PM                                                                                                                    
CHIEF MASTER  SERGEANT PAUL NELSON,  Alaska National  Guard, said                                                               
the  Alaska  National  Guard  under  the  direction  of  Adjutant                                                               
General Hummel, has  begun a grass roots  initiative to research,                                                               
develop,  and implement  a program  of ethical  fitness into  the                                                               
Department  of   Military  &  Veterans  Affairs   (DMVA).    This                                                               
initiative  will  begin  in the  National  Guard  and  eventually                                                               
spread  throughout the  department  led  by the  non-commissioned                                                               
officer corps.  It will encompass  not only ethics but also a re-                                                               
education in the profession of  arms with an emphasis on military                                                               
corps  values  to  include  character,  physical  courage,  moral                                                               
courage, and  selflessness.   He listed the  members of  the team                                                               
and advised the  team is to work directly with  the Department of                                                               
Defense of the Senior Advisor  for Military Professionalism.  The                                                               
objective is to build a  comprehensive plan to begin implementing                                                               
the art  of ethical fitness  into the  DMVA, and to  first define                                                               
ethical fitness.   Military  ethics is  a subset  of professional                                                               
ethics and  it exists to be  of service to professionals  who are                                                               
not themselves specialists  in ethics, but have to  carry out the                                                               
task entrusted to the profession  as honorably and consciously as                                                               
possible.  Military ethics is to  enable and motivate them to act                                                               
appropriately   in   the    discharge   of   their   professional                                                               
obligations.  Fitness  refers to those things the  members of the                                                               
National Guard are to maintain  themselves in an active and ready                                                               
state, they  consist of the  four pillars of resiliency,  such as                                                               
physical, emotional,  social, and spiritual fitness.   He related                                                               
this is an ongoing process that  never reaches an end state.  For                                                               
example,  a person  never  reaches a  point  of physical  fitness                                                               
wherein they no longer need to  exercise.  It becomes an enduring                                                               
and  positive  lifestyle  change.   Therefore,  ethical  fitness,                                                               
following   this  definition   and  positive   lifestyle  example                                                               
dictates  that an  attitude of  ethical  fitness is  incorporated                                                               
into  the fiber  of  both personal  and  professional lives,  and                                                               
strengthening bonds with  each other in the  uniform services and                                                               
civilian divisions  of the  Alaska DMVA.   He explained  that the                                                               
Alaska team  is enhancing  the professional  development programs                                                               
by incorporating  ethical fitness into existing  curriculum while                                                               
also  implementing  ethical  fitness   and  a  review  of  common                                                               
organizational practices  in order  to educate  the professionals                                                               
and re-enforce ethical  fitness in practice.  In  turn, this will                                                               
improve  the   working  environment  of  soldiers,   airmen,  and                                                               
civilian workforce,  and consequently increase efficiency  of the                                                               
DMVA operations.                                                                                                                
3:13:02 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT GENERAL  HUMMEL described the initiative  as exciting to                                                               
help improve  not just the  professionalism, but everyone  in the                                                               
force.  She advised that  Command Sergeant Major Richard Hildreth                                                               
will be  the first  ever Alaska National  Guard liaison  to rural                                                               
and tribal communities.  She related  that he will be key for the                                                               
success of  their rural  engagement efforts,  having grown  up in                                                               
Bethel and being  a former recruiter, he is  uniquely talented to                                                               
understand  the challenges  Alaska's  rural  population faces  to                                                               
participate in the Alaska National Guard and military service.                                                                  
ADJUTANT GENERAL  HUMMEL noted that  in the interest of  time she                                                               
would skip  [slides 11-13] a  discussion about the state  side of                                                               
the  department,  Division  of Homeland  Security  and  Emergency                                                               
Management, the  Office of Veterans  Affairs who  serves Alaska's                                                               
75,000  veterans  and their  families,  and  the Alaska  Military                                                               
Youth Academy.                                                                                                                  
3:15:34 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL KAREN  MANSFIELD, Commander,  Alaska Air  National Guard,                                                               
directed attention to slide 14,  "Air National Guard" and said it                                                               
represents  how  the Air  National  Guard  has evolved  over  the                                                               
nation over the last decade.                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD  directed attention to slide  15, "Air National                                                               
Guard   (ANG)"  and   advised   that   air  guardsmen   represent                                                               
approximately 30 percent  of the total air force and  are used as                                                               
an  operational  reserve,  and  the  strategic  reserve  is  well                                                               
established.    The  Air  National  Guard  is  expected  to  fill                                                               
approximately  30 percent  of the  air force  deployment taskings                                                               
for FY16.                                                                                                                       
3:16:50 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD directed attention to  slide 16, "Dual Roles of                                                               
the  Alaska Air  National  Guard" and  highlighted  that the  Air                                                               
National Guard supports  both the federal missions  and the state                                                               
missions.  The  Alaska Air National Guard  has forces continually                                                               
training,  exercise,  and  deploying  for the  Commander  of  Air                                                               
Pacific  Forces  as  well  as Air  Combat  Command  and  Mobility                                                               
Command,  and North  Command.   Concurrently,  it performs  state                                                               
missions on an as-needed or  as-requested basis, most notably and                                                               
frequently in the form of search and rescue.                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD referred  to slide 8, and pointed  out that the                                                               
Alaska Air National Guard executes  approximately $2.9 million in                                                               
state  general funds  while  bringing into  the  state over  $166                                                               
million in federal dollars for the federal missions it supports.                                                                
3:17:48 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD  directed attention  to slide 17,  "Locations &                                                               
Primary  Missions"  and advised  the  Alaska  Air National  Guard                                                               
supports  missions with  over 2,100  air guard  members in  three                                                               
locations.   Eielson Air  Force Base (Eielson  AFB) is  the 168th                                                               
Wing  which previously  was  the  168th Air  Fueling  Wing.   She                                                               
explained  it   was  officially  re-designated  to   reflect  the                                                               
inclusion of the 213th Space  Warning Squadron at Clear Air Force                                                               
Station  (Clear AS).   South  at Joint  Base Elmendorf-Richardson                                                               
(JBER) is the  176th Wing, one of the  most complex organizations                                                               
in  the Air  Guard, with  four primary  mission sets  to include:                                                               
strategic  and tactical  airlift, air  defense squadron,  and the                                                               
rescue  triad   which  includes   the  Guardian   Angels,  Rescue                                                               
Helicopters, and  HC-130s that  provide the  refueling capability                                                               
to those rescue  helicopters.  Both means also  have the standard                                                               
supporting units  typical to  an air  force wing  which includes:                                                               
civil engineering,  security forces, logistics,  medical support,                                                               
and communications squadrons.  The  diverse primary mission sets,                                                               
as well  as the  supporting organizations,  can be  leveraged for                                                               
state domestic operational needs.                                                                                               
3:18:54 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD  directed attention to slide  18, "Total Force"                                                               
said  that the  Alaska Air  Guard performs  many federal  mission                                                               
tasks on  a day-to-day basis.   In  keeping with the  DoD's focus                                                               
and prioritizations  on total force  integration, the  Alaska Air                                                               
Guard  is   a  committed   total  force   participant  seamlessly                                                               
deploying active  duty airmen to overseas  missions and committed                                                               
to  integrating to  high  levels here  at home.    It provides  a                                                               
classic  guard association  of operators  and maintainers  to the                                                               
active duty C-17  strategic air lift mission on  JBER through the                                                               
249th Air Lift  Squadron.  The Alaska Air Guard  is unique in the                                                               
number  of ongoing  federal missions  being funded  and executed,                                                               
essentially deployed  in place 24  hours per day, seven  days per                                                               
week, and  365 days per year.   The Alaska Air  Guard tankers sit                                                               
alert at Eielson AFB in support  of the Alaska NORAD Region (ANR)                                                               
while the rescue forces provide  alert capability to the 11th Air                                                               
Force  [JBER} active  duty fighters  enabling the  NORAD response                                                               
and extended training capacity.   The defense squadron on JBER is                                                               
on  duty 24/7,  365  days per  year,  maintaining continuous  air                                                               
defense  threat watch  over the  Alaskan area  of responsibility.                                                               
The 213th  Space Warning  Squadron also  executes 24/7,  365 days                                                               
per  year, with  air  guard  providing 90  percent  of the  space                                                               
operators and  100 percent  of the Clear  Defense Forces  for the                                                               
Air Force Space Mission.                                                                                                        
3:20:23 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD directed  attention to slide 19,  "At Home" and                                                               
related that it  is also busy at home with  its domestic response                                                               
and community support.   The Alaska Air National  Guard is manned                                                               
with  a higher  percentage  of  full time  guardsmen  due to  its                                                               
expanded federal mission set.  It  gives the Alaska Air Guard the                                                               
capacity to leverage  both skill sets and  functional response in                                                               
support of state needs.  For  example, in 2015, the 168th Medical                                                               
Group  participated  in a  Mission  of  Mercy for  the  Fairbanks                                                               
region  treating over  886 patients  and providing  approximately                                                               
$850,000  in medical  care.   Veterans  Stand Down,  in the  same                                                               
region,  assisted 570  veterans  with  medical services,  hygiene                                                               
supplies,  food   donations,  and  clothing.     The  176th  Wing                                                               
supported  the largest  recurring  innovative readiness  training                                                               
operation  in  the nation,  Operation  Arctic  Care, visiting  16                                                               
villages,  delivering  medical  and  dental care  to  over  3,000                                                               
Alaskans and  transporting personnel and  over 67 tons  of cargo.                                                               
In conjunction  with the Federal Mission  Set, Alaska's guardsmen                                                               
man  the rescue  coordination  center that  scrambles the  forces                                                               
that go out to take care of Alaska's civil SAR within the state.                                                                
3:21:46 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD directed attention  to slide 20, "Deployed" and                                                               
remarked  that  the deployments  keep  coming.   The  Alaska  Air                                                               
National  Guard's tankers  have  one of  the highest  operational                                                               
tempos with 67  percent of their missions  being operational, not                                                               
training.   In 2015,  they deployed over  150 members  to Central                                                               
Command, and off-loaded  2.6 million pounds of fuel  and over 328                                                               
combat missions.  The 176th  Wing, the Guardian Angels teams were                                                               
deployed  over  13 months  of  the  last  24  months.   The  C-17                                                               
expeditionary  crews support  multiple  rotations logging  almost                                                               
4,000 hours  while delivering  over 29  million pounds  of cargo,                                                               
and moving over  7,000 passengers.  The  Civilian Engineering and                                                               
Security  Force  Warriors  only   recently  returned  from  their                                                               
operation  Enduring  Freedom  commitments.    She  described  the                                                               
Alaska Air  Guardsmen as very busy  and "will be just  as busy in                                                               
3:22:38 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD  directed attention  to slide 21,  "Current and                                                               
Future" and  related that  the Air National  Guard's eyes  are on                                                               
the  future ensuring  that it  stays  vital and  relevant to  the                                                               
state and the  nation.  She reiterated the  re-designation of the                                                               
168th Wing, while recognizing the  inclusion of the Space Mission                                                               
expanding its  organizational construct,  the Air  National Guard                                                               
is  looking  for  ways  to  help  meet  the  total  force  tanker                                                               
requirements  in Alaska,  as there  is more  refueling need  than                                                               
capacity in this state.  The  goal is to establish an active duty                                                               
association  placing   operators  and  maintainers   against  its                                                               
National Guard  tankers in conjunction with  its current squadron                                                               
in helping  to find a viable  solution to that deficit  in tanker                                                               
capacity, she said.                                                                                                             
3:23:17 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL MANSFIELD directed attention to  slide 22, "Health of the                                                               
Force"  and said  the professional  and  personal development  of                                                               
every airman in  the Alaska Air National Guard is  a top priority                                                               
of the  organization to ensure  members have skills  necessary to                                                               
be   successful.     Towards  that   goal   it  has   implemented                                                               
standardized written performance  evaluations for its traditional                                                               
guardsmen  to  give  them  the  feedback  they  need  for  future                                                               
development.  In  addition, it developed a  chief master sergeant                                                               
development panel  to highlight  future senior  leaders, enlisted                                                               
leaders,  in  the  organization   and  groom  them  for  advanced                                                               
leadership  opportunities.   Concurrently, it  knows that  airmen                                                               
care is always at the forefront  of its mission set and should be                                                               
one of  its primary priorities.   To  that effort, over  the past                                                               
year it has funded full time  chaplain positions in both wings to                                                               
ensure airmen have immediate access  to meet their counseling and                                                               
spiritual wellness  needs.   She explained  that both  wings have                                                               
hired  directors  of   psychological  health  professionals  that                                                               
provide  short and  long term  counseling as  well as  serving as                                                               
liaisons with other mental health  professionals in both military                                                               
and civilian sectors.                                                                                                           
COLONEL  MANSFIELD  assured the  committee  that  the Alaska  Air                                                               
National  Guard  is  filled with  highly  trained  and  motivated                                                               
airmen.   As members of  Alaska's communities, they go  above and                                                               
beyond in  their commitment to  serve the nation and  Alaska, she                                                               
3:24:52 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL  JOE  STREFF,  Commander,  Alaska  Army  National  Guard,                                                               
turned to slide  25, "AKARNG Vision and Mission"  and advised its                                                               
vision  and mission  statement is  relevant to  both federal  and                                                               
state missions, as follows:                                                                                                     
     A diverse, trusted, and capable organization ready to                                                                      
        conduct Unified Land Operations for the federal                                                                         
     government and the State of Alaska.                                                                                        
     Maintain ready units and Soldiers  who are available to                                                                    
     support the  Governor and fellow Alaskans  for domestic                                                                    
     operations  while also  ready  to  deploy worldwide  in                                                                    
     support of the National Military Strategy.                                                                                 
3:26:06 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL  STREFF  reminded  the committee  that  the  Alaska  Army                                                               
National Guard  (AKARNG) and  the Alaska  Air National  Guard (AK                                                               
ANG) are the state's first  responders in cases of emergencies in                                                               
Alaska,    together    with     the    Division    of    Homeland                                                               
Security/Emergency Management.                                                                                                  
3:26:26 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL   STREFF  directed   attention  to   slide  26,   "AKARNG                                                               
Locations" and  advised that  the Alaska  Army National  Guard is                                                               
located in 18 locations around  the state, with 17 armories, plus                                                               
the soldiers located  at Fort Greely.  Reductions  are faced both                                                               
in  federal and  state funds  causing  the AKARNG  to assess  its                                                               
stationing plan and,  subsequently, where it can  afford to place                                                               
its forces.   In the  past, it had up  to 80 armories  around the                                                               
state,  but with  the  changes  being faced  it  is reducing  its                                                               
footprint  to  18  locations.    The benefit  to  Alaska  is  the                                                               
reduction in infrastructure costs and  the potential to use these                                                               
armories and be repurposed into local communities.                                                                              
3:27:14 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL STREFF  directed attention  to slide 27,  "AKARNG FY15-19                                                               
End Strength  Authorization" and advised the  Army National Guard                                                               
mandated  a reduction  in overall  end  strength nationally  from                                                               
358,200 people to 335,000 by FY19.   Each state has had to absorb                                                               
cuts and Alaska's  share is approximately 12 percent  of its 2015                                                               
manning  level.   Simultaneously, as  it was  reducing its  force                                                               
structure,   it  also   had  to   convert   from  a   battlefield                                                               
surveillance brigade  to original  support group,  which involves                                                               
two-fifths  of its  complete force  structure.   As  the army  is                                                               
drawing  down,  the standards  for  recruits  has gone  up  which                                                               
creates challenges in  Alaska for those who  may consider serving                                                               
in  the armed  forces.    Currently, 70  percent  of the  recruit                                                               
population ages 18-25 years do  not qualify to join the military,                                                               
nationally.   This is  further exasperating  Alaska with  some of                                                               
the unique  challenges that Alaska's  youth face, and  the AKARNG                                                               
is working with the Alaska State  Defense Force to afford as many                                                               
Alaskans as possible the opportunity to serve this great state.                                                                 
3:28:28 PM                                                                                                                    
COLONEL  STREFF  directed attention  to  slide  28, "Alaska  Army                                                               
National  Guard  2015 Deployments"  and  said  the Army  National                                                               
Guard continues  to deploy  soldiers in  support of  missions and                                                               
training  events around  the world.   Of  note, it  continued its                                                               
deployment  relationship  with  the   Country  of  Mongolia,  the                                                               
AKARNG's state  partnership program country and  sent soldiers to                                                               
Mongolia  to  train  with  24  other  countries  in  peacekeeping                                                               
operations.   The AKARNG  sent pilots to  fly in  Afghanistan and                                                               
soldiers to  serve in  Kosovo, and its  soldiers also  trained in                                                               
South  Korea, Cambodia,  Australia, and  the United  States.   He                                                               
advised there  are 210 Alaska  Army National  Guardsmen operating                                                               
the Missile  Defense Mission  at Fort Greely  on watch  24/7, 365                                                               
day  a   year,  operating  as  the   nation's  defenders  against                                                               
intercontinental  ballistic missile  attack, and  these guardsmen                                                               
provide a vital link to the defense of our homeland.                                                                            
3:29:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SARGEANT  MAJOR   MARC  PETERSEN,  State  Command,   Alaska  Army                                                               
National  Guard   (AKNRNG),  directed  attention  to   slide  29,                                                               
"Defense  Support  to Civil  Authorities"  and  advised that  its                                                               
state  missions  include  emergency   response,  caring  for  and                                                               
responding to  requests by civil authorities  for support ranging                                                               
from flood relief,  search and rescue, and  emergency housing for                                                               
citizens  in  its  armories.   The  Alaska  Army  National  Guard                                                               
helicopters supported  the Department of Forestry  with 131 hours                                                               
on the Mat-Su and Kenai fires  last season, and was also involved                                                               
in Operation Colony Glacier with  support and recovery.  There is                                                               
a  civil support  team with  22  specially trained  army and  air                                                               
guardsmen to  assist civil authorities  in the case  of chemical,                                                               
biological,  radiological, nuclear,  and explosive  events.   The                                                               
team stands  ready to provide  non-emergency assistance  to local                                                               
and federal authorities.  For  example, in support of the Glacier                                                               
Summit  it  provided military  police  support  to the  Anchorage                                                               
Police  Department and  State Troopers,  aviation support  to the                                                               
United  States  Secret  Service,  and refueling  support  to  the                                                               
President's  helicopter Marine  One.   He advised  the guard  has                                                               
helped  deliver medical  care, build  structures  and parks,  and                                                               
supply  veterinary  care  throughout   Alaska.    The  innovative                                                               
readiness  training program  combines the  efforts and  skills of                                                               
all of the branches of the  armed forces to train in their career                                                               
fields while  benefiting citizens  throughout the  United States,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
3:31:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SARGEANT MAJOR  PETERSEN directed  attention to slide  30, "State                                                               
Partnership Program  Alaska - Mongolia"  and reiterated  that the                                                               
Alaska  State Partnership  Program country  is Mongolia,  and the                                                               
program  links the  National Guard  with  the armed  forces of  a                                                               
partner   country   in   a   cooperative,   mutually   beneficial                                                               
relationship.   He advised that  this program is  administered by                                                               
the  National Guard  Bureau and  guided by  the State  Department                                                               
Foreign Policy Goals, and is  executed by the Adjutant General in                                                               
support  of  the Combatant  Commander  and  U.S. Chief,  National                                                               
Guard Mission  Security Cooperation objectives and  Department of                                                               
the Defense Policy  Goals.  The National  Guard conducts military                                                               
to  military engagements  and  also  leverages relationships  and                                                               
capabilities  to facilitate  broader  inter-agency and  corollary                                                               
engagements    spanning     military,    government,    economic,                                                               
educational, and  social spheres,  he advised.   Additionally, an                                                               
Alaska Army  National Guard soldier  has served as  the bilateral                                                               
affairs  and  security  operations   officer,  and  he  lived  in                                                               
Ulaanbaator,  Mongolia for  the  past two  years  serving in  the                                                               
United States  Embassy, helping facilitate  international affairs                                                               
between the United States and Mongolia.                                                                                         
3:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SARGEANT MAJOR  PETERSEN directed attention to  slide 31, "AKARNG                                                               
Rural  Engagement" and  explained that  the Alaska  Army National                                                               
Guard has invited  elements of the Command and staff  of the Army                                                               
National Guard  to rural Alaska  to witness the  challenges faced                                                               
in  Alaska's communities  in order  to  grow its  ranks in  those                                                               
areas.  He related that  some of the initiatives include: changes                                                               
to the Federal Joint Travel  Regulation which allows guardsmen to                                                               
be reimbursed for travel to  drill; and waivers for Alaskans from                                                               
its  rural areas  to  allow  them to  serve  in  formations.   He                                                               
described the  Alaska Army National  Guard as filled  with highly                                                               
trained  and  motivated soldiers  who  volunteer  to protect  and                                                               
defend the  Constitution of  the United States  and the  State of                                                               
Alaska.   It is united in  its resolve to be  a diverse, trusted,                                                               
and  capable organization  ready  to accomplish  the mission  set                                                               
before them.   They hold true  to the army values  and uphold the                                                               
laws of the state, nation, and military, he said.                                                                               
3:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LEDOUX asked  Colonel Streff  whether he  said that  70                                                               
percent of  folk's ages 17-25  years were not qualified  to serve                                                               
in the army.                                                                                                                    
COLONEL  STREFF  responded that  in  the  military at  large,  70                                                               
percent of  the population of  the United States ages  17-25 [are                                                               
not qualified to serve in the army].                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  questioned whether the reason  was because                                                               
they are not physically in shape or other reasons.                                                                              
COLONEL STREFF  answered that the major  factors include physical                                                               
fitness, but  then there are  moral issues associated  with that,                                                               
educational  problems,  such  as  drop out  problems  in  various                                                               
locations.   He  noted  the  standards have  been  raised in  the                                                               
military  as  its  force  structure has  dropped  so  things  are                                                               
becoming competitive for the recruiters.                                                                                        
3:34:31 PM                                                                                                                    
ADJUTANT  GENERAL  HUMMEL  remarked  that not  one  of  the  five                                                               
witnesses  today have  been in  their positions  longer than  one                                                               
year, she  opined that  the committee can  share her  optimism in                                                               
their expertise,  energy, and leadership, and  expressed that the                                                               
Alaska National Guard is on the rise.                                                                                           
3:35:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL pointed  out that  the committee  gets to  work                                                               
with  budgetary  issues  and the  experiential  issues,  but  the                                                               
partnerships  she has  built  with the  United  States Army,  Air                                                               
Force, Navy, and Coast Guard  have been significant.  Clearly, he                                                               
commented, not  only from deployment  but to the  24/7 operations                                                               
of Clear  Air Force Base  or the  Missile Defense, Alaska  is now                                                               
full  on partners  both in  fighting on  the ground  and watching                                                               
through  these  devises.    He  thanked her  for  taking  on  the                                                               
responsibility, sharing  the new command structure,  and that the                                                               
committee is looking forward to rubbing shoulders more with her.                                                                
3:36:06 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:36 p.m. to *3:41 p.m.                                                                      
3:41:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL called the committee back to order.                                                                            
3:42:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR  ADMIRAL DANIEL  ABEL,  Commander,  Seventeenth Coast  Guard                                                               
District, United  States Coast  Guard, said that  in 37  years of                                                               
being in  uniform, he  has never  seen collaboration  between the                                                               
other  military services,  the Coast  Guard, the  National Guard,                                                               
and the state, as efficient as it  is in Alaska.  He described it                                                               
as phenomenal.  For example, he said,  it takes a lot to keep two                                                               
MH-60s going  for four months  in the North  Slope and he  had to                                                               
get "all  that stuff  has to go  back to Kodiak."   He  asked the                                                               
National Guard  whether its load  masters would like  to practice                                                               
with some odd shaped gear.    Adjutant General Hummel agreed, and                                                               
requested that Lieutenant  General Handy submit a  memo, of which                                                               
he  did.   Thereby, the  Coast Guard  saved five  C-130 trips  by                                                               
using  one of  the National  Guard's C-17s  to get  the equipment                                                               
back to  Kodiak.   He described that  as collaboration  and noted                                                               
that  the costs  for  the  Coast Guard  C-130s,  as  well as  tax                                                               
payer's money, were saved.                                                                                                      
REAR ADMIRAL ABEL  offered that some things have  not changed for                                                               
the  Coast Guard  in Alaska,  and  its mission  remains the  same                                                               
which is:  to protect  man from  the sea  - life  saving mission;                                                               
protect  the sea  from man  - environmental  stewardship mission;                                                               
and to deny  the sea to anyone  who would use it as  an avenue to                                                               
cause harm for  the nation.  There are 44,000  miles of coastline                                                               
and  over  3.8 million  square  miles  of dangerous  and  hostile                                                               
Alaskan  waters.    He  advised  that of  the  Coast  Guard's  11                                                               
statutory missions, probably  the biggest mission it  tends to is                                                               
search and rescue, domestic and  international fisheries - making                                                               
sure it  is a  fair playing field,  aids to  navigation, military                                                               
readiness, environmental response,  maritime safety, and homeland                                                               
security.   On an average day,  the Alaska Coast Guard  will save                                                               
or assist  two people,  and those  two people  will be  home with                                                               
their family  due to what  the men and  women of the  Coast Guard                                                               
are doing  in Alaska  every single  day.  On  a given  month, 150                                                               
recreational  or commercial  boats will  be inspected  to perform                                                               
the  prevention  side;  will  service   98  aids  to  navigation;                                                               
investigate 11 pollution incidents; and  will monitor in the safe                                                               
shipping  of 700  million  gallons of  fuel out  of  Alaska.   He                                                               
offered that Alaska  is blessed with the fact it  has a new ocean                                                               
emerging for the first time in  10,000 years, and the Coast Guard                                                               
wants  to be  sure  it  is done  in  a  safe and  environmentally                                                               
responsible manner.                                                                                                             
3:45:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR ADMIRAL ABEL  stated that since 2007, the  number of vessels                                                               
in the  Coast Guard's area  of responsibility in the  Arctic have                                                               
doubled, and  the number  of transits  through the  Bering Strait                                                               
have doubled  as well.  Thankfully,  he noted, the Arctic  is not                                                               
new  to the  Coast  Guard, in  that  since 1967  in  the days  of                                                               
Captain "Hell  Roaring Mike"  Healy the Coast  Guard has  been in                                                               
Alaska.   The  U.S.  Revenue Cutter  Service  (USRCS), the  Coast                                                               
Guard's predecessors  were the first  federal presence  in Alaska                                                               
after Alaska  became a  U.S. Territory,  and those  missions have                                                               
continued.   Since 2008, the Coast  Guard has made a  push to the                                                               
Arctic, since  2012 it has  been called "Arctic Shield."   Arctic                                                               
Shield  pushes a  number of  assets to  the North  Slope and  the                                                               
missions for 2015 were to  perform Coast Guard mission activities                                                               
in the  Arctic to enhance  Arctic domain awareness.   He referred                                                               
to  Lieutenant  General  Handy's   discussion  of  Arctic  domain                                                               
awareness and maritime domain awareness,  and noted he is blessed                                                               
that  Lieutenant   General  Handy  views  him   as  his  maritime                                                               
component commander.  Rear Admiral  Abel's view of the Arctic and                                                               
view  of the  maritime  is what  he  provides Lieutenant  General                                                               
Handy, and  there is no formal  DoD line between them  because it                                                               
is  all   about  partnerships   here.     He  pointed   out  that                                                               
"Partnerships"  was  the  third  goal of  Arctic  Shield  15,  to                                                               
enhance  their   abilities  for  preparedness,   prevention,  and                                                               
response in  the Arctic.   Last summer  they had  two helicopters                                                               
forward  deployed to  Deadhorse,  Alaska, and  had major  cutters                                                               
with deployed helicopters  on board, and expressed  that there is                                                               
nothing more mobile  and reactive than a Coast  Guard cutter with                                                               
an embarked  helicopter because it  can move where the  action is                                                               
every single  summer.  He turned  to the U.S. Coast  Guard Cutter                                                               
Healy,  their  medium  ice  breaker,  and  pointed  out  that  it                                                               
performed a parameter patrol all the  way around the edge of "our                                                               
exclusive economic zone." The U.S.  Coast Guard Cutter Healy also                                                               
performed an  unescorted lone  trip to the  North Pole  which was                                                               
historic because  this was the  first time a U.S.  surface vessel                                                               
made that  trip.  He  advised that a  C-130 from Kodiak  flew all                                                               
the way to  the North Pole and returned safely  to prove it could                                                               
be done, testing navigation as well as communication.                                                                           
3:47:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR  ADMIRAL  ABEL said  their  Medium  Endurance Cutter  (WMEC)                                                               
USCGC  Alex Haley  was working  in the  Chukchi Sea  and Beaufort                                                               
Sea.   They conducted maritime patrols  and had a buoy  tender in                                                               
the Arctic putting  down research buoys.  The  Coast Guard worked                                                               
with the National Oceanic  and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),                                                               
and he  related that  5-10 percent  of the  Arctic is  charted to                                                               
contemporary  standards.    He asked  the  committee  to  imagine                                                               
getting on an  Alaska Airlines flight and  the captain announcing                                                               
that he/she  knew where  5-10 percent of  the mountains  are, and                                                               
pointed out  that this  is what  a captain does  when he  takes a                                                               
ship north  of the  Bering Strait.   The  Coast Guard  is working                                                               
closely with NOAA to be certain they can chart and do it safely.                                                                
3:48:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR ADMIRAL  ABEL explained that mobile,  seasonal, and adaptive                                                               
are the watch words and the  strength of the Coast Guard presence                                                               
in  the  Arctic.   He  advised  that  the University  of  Alaska,                                                               
Anchorage  (UAA) earned  a Center  of Excellence  grant from  the                                                               
Department  of Homeland  Security to  work on  the Arctic  Domain                                                               
Awareness Center  (ADAC).   They will  continue work  both fusing                                                               
science  with  sensors and  satellite  imagery  with a  community                                                               
based observer network.   He explained that the whole  idea is to                                                               
tap into  the knowledge  of those  that have  lived on  the North                                                               
Slope, along  the Arctic coast  for generations to find  out that                                                               
walruses  have  just  shown  up  for the  first  time,  which  is                                                               
unusual.   This  is  unusual, he  said.   He  continued that  the                                                               
storms  are more  severe  than  in the  past,  there are  erosion                                                               
problems, and  to fuse that  information so there  is traditional                                                               
knowledge as  well as science.   The Coast Guard has  also teamed                                                               
with  community engagement,  and he  said  not only  is a  marine                                                               
inspector qualified  to inspect a  tank, they are  also qualified                                                               
to  teach  Kids  Don't  Float,  which is  an  in  school  program                                                               
explaining  water  safety.   He  noted  that they  reached  3,600                                                               
children  last year  with Kids  Don't Float  and remarked  that a                                                               
child  wearing a  lifejacket ended  up  saving the  lives of  his                                                               
father and  his father's friend.   Alaskans  can be proud  of the                                                               
fact that  the number of  teenagers wearing life jackets  is much                                                               
higher than  the Lower 48 because,  he pointed out, for  10 years                                                               
they have  taught 9-10 year olds  they have to wear  life jackets                                                               
when underway on a boat.   Those children are now 19-20 year olds                                                               
and the return on investment is there, he said.                                                                                 
3:50:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR ADMIRAL  ABEL explained  that the Coast  Guard is  doing its                                                               
best to  harmonize all operations  in the Arctic  Maritime System                                                               
to be  certain they are  well synchronized with  traditional uses                                                               
of the  Arctic and are cognizant  that they do not  want to scare                                                               
away the  whale or walrus  or caribou.   He described it  as more                                                               
about food security  and cultural security.   A beneficial Arctic                                                               
Waterway Safety  Committee was created, patterned  after a Harbor                                                               
Safety Committee,  which fused subsistence hunters  with industry                                                               
and communities,  and from  each group  asked its  priorities for                                                               
the  Coast  Guard in  a  maritime  transportation system  in  the                                                               
Arctic.   He noted  a Port  Access Route  Study proposed  a route                                                               
that goes from Unimak Pass up  around Little Diomede, and an exit                                                               
that goes left  to right going either to the  Russian side or the                                                               
U.S. side.   The Coast Guard has heavily  hydro-graphed it, which                                                               
is bottom  mapping, and is  looking to  get that approved  by the                                                               
International Maritime Organization to  then bring some structure                                                               
to the extremely narrow pass.                                                                                                   
He noted  that the distance of  the Bering pass is  [the same as]                                                               
between Washington D.C. and Baltimore.   It is 44 miles, shallows                                                               
up to 100-150 feet, with  17,000 Bowhead Whales traveling through                                                               
there  twice per  year,  and 4  million  nesting birds  migrating                                                               
through  there.    He  described   that  it  has  always  been  a                                                               
wilderness  superhighway   that  is  becoming   a  transportation                                                               
highway system, and how to harmonize that as well.                                                                              
3:51:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR  ADMIRAL  ABEL  referred  to Polar  Code,  and  advised  the                                                               
International  Maritime Organization,  which  dictates rules  for                                                               
all mariners  around the world,  has passed  the Polar Code.   He                                                               
described it as  a "game changer" because this is  the first time                                                               
ever there  is an international  standard for ships  that operate                                                               
in  the  Arctic."    He  explained  that  it  will  dictate  ship                                                               
construction, training -  because the person must  be a qualified                                                               
ice  pilot,  it  will dictate  discharge  restrictions,  carriage                                                               
requirements, and all  of those things.  The  United States Coast                                                               
Guard will  enforce the Polar Code,  and it is making  sure it is                                                               
there and  ready to perform  inspections and be  certain everyone                                                               
abides by the new rules.                                                                                                        
3:52:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR ADMIRAL  ABEL referred to the  "lure of the Arctic"  in that                                                               
everyone wants  to go to  the Arctic.   He pointed to  the cruise                                                               
liner, Crystal  Serenity, wherein  1,700 people will  travel from                                                               
Seward to  Anchorage to New  York City  across the top,  which is                                                               
the  first of  its kind.    He expressed  that the  cost will  be                                                               
$20,000-$120,000 per  person, it sold  out in two days,  and that                                                               
this is the  wave of the future.  Therefore,  he noted, the Coast                                                               
Guard  is  making   sure  it  is  prepared,   together  with  the                                                               
communities and the  state, to respond to 1,700  people which may                                                               
be in  distress in the Arctic.   The Coast Guard  is also working                                                               
with Transport  Canada, the cruise  industry, the  Canadian Coast                                                               
Guard  to be  certain everyone  is harmonized  and ready  to deal                                                               
with anything that  might occur.  Arctic Chinook is  a joint U.S.                                                               
Coast  Guard  and U.S.  Northern  Command  sponsored exercise  to                                                               
conduct  a  live  field  training  exercise  of  the  Arctic  SAR                                                               
Agreement  that will  exercise  a  response construct  applicable                                                               
across the Arctic region.                                                                                                       
3:53:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR  ADMIRAL  ABEL   noted  that  closer  to   home  and  highly                                                               
successful  is  the  "Round  Turn," focusing  on  the  safety  of                                                               
commercial fishing vessel activities in  Alaska, and that over 50                                                               
percent of the  nation's fish are caught in Alaska's  waters.  In                                                               
October 2015,  a decal became  mandatory, and the  decal mandates                                                               
that certain  safety equipment must be  on board.  [He  held up a                                                               
decal during  the briefing.]   Rear  Admiral Abel  then commended                                                               
the  professionalism  of  the fishermen  in  Alaska  because  the                                                               
equipment  was already  on board.    He stressed  that the  Coast                                                               
Guard  continues  to  serve Alaska,  safeguard  the  public,  and                                                               
protect the environment  and its resources.  He  pointed out that                                                               
on the quality  of life side, Alaskan families are  proud to live                                                               
here.  He turned to the  Alaska Marine Highway System and advised                                                               
that 80 percent of Coast Guard  members use the ferries to get to                                                               
their assignments distributed all  around the state and maritime.                                                               
Interestingly, he  remarked, his challenge is  getting the folks,                                                               
whose  tour has  ended,  to  leave Alaska  because  they want  to                                                               
continue to  serve in Alaska.   He extended  that he has  to give                                                               
other folks the chance to stand watch on the Last Frontier.                                                                     
3:55:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REAR ADMIRAL ABEL mentioned there  was an issue with cancellation                                                               
fees  with regard  to the  Alaska Marine  Highway System  (AMHS).                                                               
Thanks  to  Captain  Mike  Neussl,  Deputy  Commissioner,  Marine                                                               
Highway System, if  a person is military on orders  they can book                                                               
a reservation with  no cancellation fee up to 60  days before the                                                               
actual move,  which will not  be a problem for  military members.                                                               
He pointed  out that  the Alaska  Marine Highway  System Division                                                               
was  extremely  responsive  in   ascertaining  that  active  duty                                                               
members  are moved  in and  out of  places they  need to  be this                                                               
3:56:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  COGHILL  commented that  for  all  of Alaska's  highway                                                               
systems,  whether  it  be  marine or  plowing  the  road  between                                                               
Anchorage and  Fairbanks, they are struggling  under the economic                                                               
pressure, but the  committee will keep that in mind.   He thanked                                                               
the Coast  Guard for  keeping Alaska's  water safe  for fishermen                                                               
and those traveling in Alaska's waters,  and related that it is a                                                               
new world  to him, but  he is learning  more about the  lives the                                                               
Coast  Guard saves  and  the  inspections.   He  described it  as                                                               
fascinating, from  Kids Don't Float  all the way to  the maritime                                                               
issues to the Arctic traversing.                                                                                                
3:57:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LEDOUX  commented that as  a former resident  of Kodiak,                                                               
she does  not think there  is anyone in  Kodiak who has  not been                                                               
touched  by  the  Coast  Guard  in some  respect.    She  further                                                               
commented  that  legislative  time  isn't  always  as  prompt  as                                                               
military  time, and  she congratulated  him because  the briefing                                                               
may  have started  out on  legislative time,  but he  finished on                                                               
military time.                                                                                                                  
3:57:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR COGHILL thanked all of  the briefing witnesses and asked                                                               
them  to  advise  those under  their  command  [the  committee's]                                                               
recognition  of gratitude.    As  a salute  to  the witnesses  as                                                               
commanders  and for  those  under their  command,  for the  whole                                                               
range of issues the  members get to see, there is  no doubt it is                                                               
a partnership  that also  extends between  the people  of Alaska,                                                               
the people  of America, the  Department of Defense, and  the many                                                               
ways  they deal  with  it, and  the committee  is  grateful.   He                                                               
acknowledged that the economics of  Alaska are somewhat shaky due                                                               
to oil,  but the future of  Alaska is definitely certain  that it                                                               
has a geographical  place in the world.  The  state does the best                                                               
it can to be certain the highways and byways stay open, and that                                                                
the men and women serving in the military services are kept                                                                     
healthy, safe, and productive.                                                                                                  
3:59:23 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the Joint                                                                 
Armed Services Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:59 p.m.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
JASC REPORT TO LEGISALTURE FINAL JAN 18, 2016.pdf JASC 2/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
2016 JASC Report
Biographies for Feb 9th Meeting.pdf JASC 2/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
Biographies for Feb. 9 Meeting
JASC DMVA 2-9-16.pptx JASC 2/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
DMVA Report to JASC
ALCOM JASC Final_9 Feb Testimoy.pdf JASC 2/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
ALCOM Report to JASC
USARAK JASC Brief_V6.pptx JASC 2/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
U.S. Army Alaska Command Video-HD.mp4 JASC 2/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
US Army Alaska Command Video