Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/14/1995 05:01 PM MLV
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
JOINT HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND SENATE FINANCE SUBCOMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS February 14, 1995 5:01 p.m. HOUSE MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Ivan M. Ivan, Co-Chairman Representative Eldon Mulder, Vice-Chair Representative Richard Foster Representative Ed Willis HOUSE MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Pete Kott, Co-Chairman Representative Gail Phillips Representative John Davies SENATE MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Randy Phillips, Chairman Senator Fred Zharoff SENATE MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Mike Miller COMMITTEE CALENDAR Confirmation hearing for Major General Jake Lestenkof, Commissioner Designate, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Joint overview with Senate Finance Subcommittee for the department of Military and Veterans Affairs. WITNESS REGISTER Major General Jake Lestenkof, Commissioner Designate Department of Military and Veterans Affairs P.O. Box 5800 Fort Richardson, AK 99505-5800 Telephone: (907) 428-6003 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-3, SIDE A Number 001 The Joint House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs and the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs was called to order by Co-Chairman Ivan M. Ivan at 5:01 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Ivan, Foster, Willis. Members absent were Representatives Mulder, Phillips, and Davies. Senate members present were Senator Phillips and Zharoff. Senate members absent were Senator Miller. CO-CHAIRMAN IVAN M. IVAN noted for the record that Representative Mulder was expected to arrive shortly to make a quorum. He recognized Senate Finance Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs members present. Number 030 Major General Jake Lestenkof, Commissioner Designate, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, summarized his resume chronologically beginning with birth June 3, 1932, on Saint George Island, Alaska; education, graduate from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in 1951; joined the military service 1951-1954, served in the U.S. and Korea; 1955-1959, U.S. Public Health Service; 1959-1974, Director of Operations and Training, Alaska, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; 1974-1975, Director, Manpower Development, Alaska Federation of Natives; 1975-1976, Executive Vice-President, Alaska Federation of Natives; 1977-1981, Executive Director, Cook Inlet Native Association; 1981-1988, Area Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of Interior; 1987-1990, Assistant Adjutant General, Alaska National Guard; 1988-1990, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community and Regional Affairs; 1992-present, Trust Administrator, Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. Number 103 CO-CHAIRMAN IVAN asked if members had any questions or comments. He stated the committee would like to move forward with Major General Lestenkof's confirmation. Number 111 REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER moved and asked unanimous consent to move forward the confirmation of Major General Lestenkof. A quorum was not available at this time. Number 120 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked Major General Lestenkof if he had any questions of them. MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded, "No." Number 123 CO-CHAIRMAN IVAN requested Major General Lestenkof to continue with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs overview. MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF stated folders were available and he introduced Captain Mike Maller and Jeff Morrison of his staff. He briefly mentioned how the cold war affected past operations in Alaska and how the end of the cold war will affect future operations. Number 132 CO-CHAIRMAN noted for the record that Representative Mulder had joined the meeting at 5:18 p.m. Number 133 MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF presented the overview by organization and major components within the department. As the Commissioner and Adjutant General of Alaska, he commands air, army and naval units. Joint staff reporting directly to him include the Judge Advocate, the I.U.G., the J1 who deals with personal matters and the J4 who deals with all federal logistical matters. MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF reviewed the major components of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs which consist of the Alaska Army National Guard, Air Guard, Emergency Services, Naval Militia and Veterans Affairs. These are large full time organizations within the department. Additionally, there is the State Defense Force which is a volunteer organization and traditional support divisions such as administrative services and facilities management. MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF continued the overview by division. The largest component is the Army National Guard. He stated the most significant change in the Army National Guard is down sizing activity. This is due to the entire country's military structure down sizing. The agreement entitled, Off Site Agreement, recently reached between the active Army, the Army Guard, and the Army Reserves sets ceilings. This down sizing will affect the number of personal in Alaska from approximately 3,900 to 2,300. He reviewed the Doctrinal changes regarding how Eskimo Scouts operate in a war environment. The scouts were originally designed to remain in place which meant fighting in the village. They are now being trained to operate in a world arena, converting them into long range scout units. He stated the aircraft conversion such as aircraft reduction programs will also affect Alaska. There are 26 UH1 helicopter units leaving our system. The department is trying to replace these units with CH47 aircrafts. Number 265 REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER excused his interruption and moved by unanimous consent to forward the confirmation of Major General Jake Lestenkof. There being no objection, it was so ordered. Number 271 MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF continued his review of the Army National Guard. The Army is maneuvering into world training and operations. They search world wide for mission related operational training areas. He reviewed the organizational structure of the Air Guard. Established in 1952, with 16 WWII veterans and one airplane, the Air Guard has grown to a world ranging deployable lift and refueling operation. He reviewed the Air Refueling Squadron, the 210th Rescue Squadron, the Rescue Coordination Center and the Combat Communication Center. He stated the Combat Communications Flight Division will increase from 24 to 54 personal, adding 30 positions in Anchorage. A new unit under consideration is an Air Traffic Control Squadron. The National Guard Bureau proposed this unit. Number 353 SENATOR FRED ZHAROFF asked what is an Air Traffic Control Squadron? MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded the Air Traffic Control Squadron is an emergency combat air control field operation. When air units deploy into a combat environment on unimproved air strips, the Air Traffic Control Division will set up air control operations within the area. They will also train individuals in air traffic control. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked if it is a military or civilian operation? MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded military. SENATOR ZHAROFF asked where will the unit be stationed? MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded in Anchorage. It will be a deployable air traffic control operation. He reviewed the economic and social impact the Guard has on Alaska. The Guards payroll consists of 97 percent federal funds or a total of $138 million and $4.5 million state funds. The Guard has over 4,000 full and part-time employees with leadership developed among members. Number 387 MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF summarized the Division of Emergency Services, the Alaska Naval Militia and the Alaska State Defense Force. He stated the Division of Emergency Services has improved its' standards and works very closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Program during disasters. He stated the Alaska Naval Militia and the Alaska State Defense Force are both volunteer organizations. Their primary mission is to back up the Alaska National Guard, disaster response, maritime support and support staff for the Alaska National Guard Youth Corps. Number 433 MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF reviewed Veterans Affairs Division. He stated Alaska has over 73,000 veterans. He expressed concern over services veterans receive. The department will be requesting additional funding for Veterans Affairs. Number 441 SENATOR PHILLIPS questioned re-fund veterans position and is the position related to the directorship? MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded the department is considering a special assistant position. Number 448 MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF continued the overview with the Facilities Maintenance and Administrative Support Divisions. He stated these are both typical support divisions. Administration provides support to the department and facilities maintenance covers over 200 state owned facilities in Alaska. The department requests adequate funding for facilities to ensure safe maintained buildings. Major General Lestenkof concluded his overview. Number 468 CO-CHAIRMAN IVAN thanked Major General Lestenkof for the overview and asked if members had questions or comments? REPRESENTATIVE ED WILLIS asked when we deploy units or groups of personal overseas, are these individuals federalized at some point? MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded they are federalized if they are being deployed in connection with war or certain peace keeping situations. They will be federalized individually or as part of a unit. If they are deployed for training, they are on state duty or training status and not federalized. Number 487 CO-CHAIRMAN IVAN stated his support and respect of the National Guard Program which also provides educational opportunities. MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF added as the Guard is considered world deployable and actively seeks world wide missions, the requirement for the individual guardsmen has changed. The proficiency level increased for guardsmen, additional training and preparedness have also improved. Number 510 SENATOR PHILLIPS asked if he was informed on the progress of the challenge program for juveniles at Camp Carroll? MAJOR GENERAL LESTENKOF responded he was aware of the program. It is a good program and Alaska is one of 15 states that have this program. The program had 43 graduates in 1994, who all have positive goals and plans for the future. ADJOURNMENT There being no further business to come before the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, CO-CHAIRMAN IVAN adjourned the meeting at 5:39 p.m.