Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/09/1999 04:30 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON                                                                                         
           MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                                       
                   March 9, 1999                                                                                                
                     4:30 p.m.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lisa Murkowski, Chair                                                                                            
Representative Jeannette James                                                                                                  
Representative Gail Phillips                                                                                                    
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Coghill, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Eric Croft                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
* HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                                                                 
Relating to new evaluation and selection criteria for military base                                                             
realignment and closure actions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HJR 21 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs                                                                       
Adjutant General, Alaska National Guard                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Phillip Oates, Brigadier General                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Brigadier General, Alaska Air National Guard                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     George Cannelos, Colonel                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATION ADVANCED                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
(* First public hearing)                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HJR 21                                                                                                                    
SHORT TITLE: MILITARY BASE REALIGNMENT/CLOSURE ACTIONS                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MULDER                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                                                                           
 2/26/99       323     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                                                                   
 2/26/99       324     (H)  MLV, STA                                                                                            
 3/09/99               (H)  MLV AT  4:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 507                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2647                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of HJR 21.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS NELSON, Staff to Senator Tim Kelly;                                                                                       
   and Staff Director, Joint Committee on                                                                                       
   Military Bases in Alaska                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Goldstein Building                                                                                                              
130 Seward Street, Suite 220                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-3865                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions relating to HJR 21.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PHILLIP OATES, Brigadier General                                                                                                
Adjutant General/Commissioner Designee                                                                                          
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs                                                                                     
P.O. Box 5800                                                                                                                   
Fort Richardson, Alaska  99505-0800                                                                                             
Telephone:  (907) 428-6003                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 21; during                                                                     
                     confirmation hearing, discussed his vision                                                                 
                     for the department.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE CANNELOS, Colonel                                                                                                        
Alaska Air National Guard                                                                                                       
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs                                                                                     
P.O. Box 5800                                                                                                                   
Fort Richardson, Alaska  99505-0800                                                                                             
Telephone:  (907) 428-6072                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  During confirmation hearing, discussed his                                                                 
                     background and vision; answered questions.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 99-4, SIDE A                                                                                                               
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LISA MURKOWSKI called the House Special Committee on Military                                                             
and Veterans' Affairs meeting to order at 4:30 p.m.  Members                                                                    
present at the call to order were Representatives Murkowski, James,                                                             
Phillips, Kott and Foster.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
HJR 21 - MILITARY BASE REALIGNMENT/CLOSURE ACTIONS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI announced the first order of business would be                                                                  
House Joint Resolution No. 21, relating to new evaluation and                                                                   
selection criteria for military base realignment and closure                                                                    
actions.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 037                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                                 
explained that HJR 21 focuses on recommendations to Congress about                                                              
future rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  It is a                                                                  
by-product of efforts with the task force of military bases in                                                                  
Alaska last year, and there is a companion resolution in the Senate                                                             
[sponsored by Senator Tim Kelly, who along with Representative                                                                  
Mulder co-chairs the legislature's Joint Committee on Military                                                                  
Bases].  Representative Mulder read from the sponsor statement,                                                                 
with comments, as follows:                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     This resolution asks the leaders of the federal government to                                                              
     reform the selection and evaluation criteria used in any                                                                   
     future military base closure actions.  Previous BRAC                                                                       
     commissions allowed each of the military services to develop                                                               
     categories for its own bases and then evaluate and rank their                                                              
     bases, applying criteria established by the Department of                                                                  
     Defense and Congress.  Under these single-service evaluations,                                                             
     the concerns of individual services often overshadowed total                                                               
     force considerations.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     This process also seriously shortchanged Alaska's bases.                                                                   
     Strategic location and established Army-Air Force                                                                          
     compatibility, our bases' strongest points, were not fully                                                                 
     recognized, while their high cost in relation to other bases,                                                              
     which is, by the way, our weakest point, was overemphasized.                                                               
     Consequently, many of Alaska's bases did not score very well                                                               
     under the old categorization or ranking.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     House Joint Resolution 21 calls for the President, the                                                                     
     Secretary of Defense and Congress to establish Joint                                                                       
     Cross-Service Groups this year to study the issues which shape                                                             
     our Armed Forces in the twenty-first century:  power                                                                       
     projection and deployment, joint training, joint operations                                                                
     and total force considerations.  These Joint Cross-Service                                                                 
     Groups will then develop a new evaluation and selection                                                                    
     criteria and procedures for future BRAC commissions to ensure                                                              
     that total force and power projection factors receive                                                                      
     increased consideration in future base closure decisions.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MULDER told members that he and Representative                                                                   
Phillips had the privilege of visiting with the Secretary of                                                                    
Defense in Alaska a couple of weeks before; they had discussed this                                                             
very point, which the Secretary of Defense had believed to be                                                                   
pertinent.  Representative Mulder pointed out that the Secretary of                                                             
Defense is from Maine, a state with considerations similar to                                                                   
Alaska's.  For example, Maine has high costs, while strategic                                                                   
location and coordination of effort are important to them.                                                                      
Representative Mulder said Chris Nelson could answer questions                                                                  
about the BRAC process.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 111                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether Representative Mulder is looking for                                                              
the new Joint Cross-Services Group to come up with brand-new                                                                    
criteria, including those stated in HJR 21, or whether it is an                                                                 
add-on to criteria used in previous realignments.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said the categorizations need to be                                                                       
re-prioritized but also somewhat refocused.  The highest criteria                                                               
in the past has been cost, the state's weakest consideration.  To                                                               
his knowledge, a total force concept hasn't been fully utilized as                                                              
a criteria.  He deferred to Mr. Nelson for a more thorough answer.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 134                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHRIS NELSON, Staff to Senator Tim Kelly; and Staff Director, Joint                                                             
Committee on Military Bases in Alaska, Alaska State Legislature,                                                                
explained that the idea of the Joint Cross-Service Groups was                                                                   
recommended by the 1993 BRAC Commission.  Within the overall                                                                    
framework of the BRAC structure, from the "BRAC rounds" in 1991,                                                                
1993 and 1995, there have been adjustments based on their                                                                       
experiences.  The 1993 BRAC Commission said that in the next round,                                                             
[the Department of Defense] should look at some areas, primarily in                                                             
the support arena, where the services could consolidate and save                                                                
money; examples include undergraduate flight training, depots and                                                               
laboratories.  The Joint Cross-Service Groups met on each of these                                                              
categories and came up with recommendations, some of which were                                                                 
adopted by the 1995 BRAC Commission.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON pointed out that when Fort Richardson is compared only                                                               
to other Army maneuver bases, it cannot now get credit for the                                                                  
joint mobility complex, the most modern, well-thought-out power                                                                 
projection facility in the world, to send soldiers to combat areas                                                              
overseas; this is because it sits on the Elmendorf Air Force Base                                                               
half of the reservation.  The Army has no way in its evaluation                                                                 
system to weight that as an asset for Fort Richardson, yet no other                                                             
base in the Army comes close to having a facility of deployment and                                                             
power projection facility that modern.  Mr. Nelson stated, "That's                                                              
why we're talking about total force considerations and trying to                                                                
build some criteria, so that those things will get noticed."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON said right now there are only two areas where joint                                                                  
considerations enter into the BRAC process.  After the services                                                                 
come up with their lists and evaluations of bases, then the                                                                     
regional Commander in Chief (CINC) for Alaska, which would be the                                                               
Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC), looks at it and offers                                                                   
input; then the Secretary of Defense himself looks at it.  Those                                                                
are the two high-echelon reviews of total force considerations.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON concluded:  "What we're asking for is that you begin the                                                             
process, looking at total force consideration.  Total force should                                                              
be the building block that we're looking at all future BRAC actions                                                             
on.  We're ten years past the end of the Cold War.  We have                                                                     
changed, in this period of time, from a forward-deployed force                                                                  
based primarily overseas to a power projection force based within                                                               
our own borders.  And when we talk about the force structure-base                                                               
structure interaction, you say, 'Well, we've reduced the force                                                                  
structure, so we need to reduce the base structure.'  That's true                                                               
as far as it goes.  But we have to look at the base structure,                                                                  
because we haven't changed our base structure to reflect the fact                                                               
that we're now a power projection force. ... Previous BRAC rounds                                                               
in 1991, '93, '95 did not do that. ... That's where we're trying to                                                             
go on this."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 193                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether the idea in HJR 21 is unique to                                                                   
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON indicated Alaska would be the first, but he was sure                                                                 
there would be support from elsewhere.  He noted that some states                                                               
would not evaluate as well if they look at total force; those                                                                   
states prefer that the system remain as it is, as high operating                                                                
costs in Alaska would put Alaska bases lower on the ladder.  Alaska                                                             
has been shortchanged in the analyses used in the prior BRAC                                                                    
rounds.  Mr. Nelson concluded, "We're saying that if there is a                                                                 
BRAC 2001, it has to look at the base structure of the total force,                                                             
not the base structure of the individual service."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 216                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PHILLIP OATES, Brigadier General, Adjutant General/Commissioner                                                                 
Designee, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, came forward                                                             
to testify.  He told members:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     I would like to applaud the resolution.  In fact, it's so                                                                  
     good, I wish I'd written it myself; it's truly at the graduate                                                             
     level. ... It argues exactly what our country needs, not just                                                              
     a parochial argument for Alaska.  Our country needs to think                                                               
     in terms of joint capabilities that include both the active                                                                
     and the reserve components, and the guard.  And by supporting                                                              
     this resolution, we are providing a very, very good model to                                                               
     the Secretary of Defense when the BRAC process comes.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In our meeting with the Secretary of Defense, when he came to                                                              
     Alaska, he was very convincing in his argument that BRAC will                                                              
     come sometime in the future.  He talked about the impact on                                                                
     communities, and we sat and listened to him - ...                                                                          
     Representative Mulder, Representative Phillips - and he talked                                                             
     about the need for adjusting the impact on rural communities.                                                              
     However, we also talked about the need to ... do things that                                                               
     were most effective for our Armed Services.  And this does                                                                 
     what is most effective for our Armed Services, and oh, by the                                                              
     way, recognizes the strengths that Alaska has to offer.  So,                                                               
     I applaud this resolution.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 240                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER made a motion to move HJR 21 out of committee                                                             
with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note.                                                              
There being no objection, HJR 21 moved from the House Special                                                                   
Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Next on the agenda were confirmation hearings for two appointees.                                                               
Resumes were provided in committee packets.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Commissioner, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs                                                                       
Adjutant General, Alaska National Guard                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 245                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PHILLIP OATES, Brigadier General, Adjutant General/Commissioner                                                                 
Designee, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, came                                                                     
forward.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked Brigadier General Oates what his vision is                                                                
for the department, and what he would like to see as commissioner.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL OATES stated:                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Now that I've been acting in the job for some 45 days, I think                                                             
     I've got a little better grasp on a vision ahead, and I think                                                              
     it's very important, not only for Alaska but also for our                                                                  
     Department of Defense.  There are really two aspects to this                                                               
     job, on the state side and on the federal side, but let me                                                                 
     talk with the military aspects of it first.  We call it the                                                                
     Alaska National Guard, not the National Alaska Guard, because                                                              
     our first responsibility is to our state.  We have to be ready                                                             
     to perform those missions that our elected representatives and                                                             
     our commander in chief call on us to do.  And that, in this                                                                
     state, deals first with responding to disasters, anywhere that                                                             
     they may happen in the state.  And in Alaska, as you know                                                                  
     better than me, it's not a question of if a disaster will                                                                  
     occur; it's a question of when that disaster will occur.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     ... And homeland defense now is taking on a bigger context, as                                                             
     we look at incidents of terrorism, such as the Sarin gas                                                                   
     attack that happened in Tokyo on the subway, or the bombing in                                                             
     Oklahoma City.  And we have to have forces and homeland                                                                    
     defense that deal with those acts of terrorism, or accidents,                                                              
     especially when you're thinking in terms of weapons of mass                                                                
     destruction:  nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.  In                                                                 
     fact, we are in the process of fielding a team to deal with                                                                
     the early detection and reaction to any weapons of mass                                                                    
     destruction use in our state of Alaska.  So, that's an                                                                     
     important goal, and one aspect of homeland defense.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Also, homeland defense continues scenarios such as our drug                                                                
     suppression efforts.  It's a very, very important activity ...                                                             
     we participate in as guards members.  Our guards members are                                                               
     not the individuals that go down and conduct the raids, but we                                                             
     are the ones that facilitate ... the flow of information and                                                               
     communication and coordination with all the disparate local,                                                               
     state and federal agencies that deal with drugs and drug                                                                   
     suppression and drug education.  We also bring resources to                                                                
     those efforts; when those state, local or federal agencies                                                                 
     need resources such as military equipment, we can provide that                                                             
     and then operate in direct support.  And when you look at                                                                  
     crime rates in the state, or in the nation, your effectiveness                                                             
     in dealing with the drug problem has a direct impact on your                                                               
     crime rates that you experience.  The more success you have in                                                             
     keeping drugs out of our state, the lower the crime rate is.                                                               
     So, the guard plays a very big role in that (indisc.).                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Then our [Challenge Youth] Program, where we educate [at-risk]                                                             
     individuals, is vitally important.  We're taking young men and                                                             
     young women, and putting them on a path where they can not                                                                 
     only be productive members of society and Alaska, they can be                                                              
     our future members of the guard.  That program, I would invite                                                             
     all of you to come down and see that graduation, to see what                                                               
     we do with those young men and women, and see the impact that                                                              
     it has ... on our nation and our state. ... I've stirred in my                                                             
     talk about drugs and about kids because that's homeland                                                                    
     defense; that's the front lines, keeping drugs ... out of our                                                              
     state.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     But also, homeland defense extends into other areas.  On the                                                               
     air guard side, we are moving ahead to take over the mission                                                               
     of air defense and air sovereignty in Alaska, take over the                                                                
     NORAD [North American Air Defense Command] mission here,                                                                   
     because that is homeland defense; take over the manning of                                                                 
     Clear Air Station for a space command, because that relates to                                                             
     homeland defense, in the detection and tracking of space                                                                   
     objects.  The Army is moving ahead with a role in ballistic                                                                
     missile defenses.  The Army guard will man those ground-based                                                              
     interceptor sites when they come; and they will come, and they                                                             
     will come to Alaska, because we have to protect all 50 states,                                                             
     and you can't do that from anywhere else.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     And then we have other missions that will continue for our                                                                 
     nation, a readiness  ... to respond to any contingencies that                                                              
     happen in the Pacific, most notably in Korea.  We have in the                                                              
     air guard, the 168th, the aerial refueling unit, and they                                                                  
     provide the aerial refueling bridge for all of our nation's                                                                
     forces that flow to the Pacific, and flow through Alaska, the                                                              
     NORTHPAC [North Pacific] route, ... for that war, if it were                                                               
     to happen.  And I can't tell you how vital that is to our                                                                  
     nation, our Department of Defense, our Air Force, and to our                                                               
     forces in Alaska.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 320                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     We've got a tactical C-130 unit, the 176th, that (indisc.)                                                                 
     directly to Pacific air forces, if we go to war in the                                                                     
     Pacific; so they have to be ready every day.  We've got the                                                                
     206th Combat Comm [Communications] Squadron; it's responsible                                                              
     to provide communications to any air expeditionary force, or                                                               
     any joint force that flows from Alaska.  We've got the Rescue                                                              
     Coordination Center, named the best in the Air Force this last                                                             
     year, that saves one life a day, on an average over time - one                                                             
     life a day. ... What a magnificent accomplishment.  And these                                                              
     are warriors.  They're out there training in conditions                                                                    
     tougher than I have experienced in my 30-year military career                                                              
     in airborne (indisc.).  And they're just magnificent in their                                                              
     ability to accomplish ... that mission.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     And then we extend out into the rural communities with our                                                                 
     Alaska Natives.  We extend out into 84 communities in Alaska,                                                              
     and we have to increase our efforts there. ... We need to come                                                             
     up with legislation that will allow us to recruit and retain                                                               
     and make members of our Native communities able to join and be                                                             
     successful in our Alaska guard.  And I think the Joint Armed                                                               
     Services Committee that was talked about earlier could play a                                                              
     big role in ... those areas, could play a big role in the                                                                  
     larger defense areas, could play a big role in the education                                                               
     of our youth, and to making the guard a very, very strong                                                                  
     member in the Department of Defense.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     So, I've talked about a lot of things here, but I'd like to go                                                             
     back to my opening comment:  We're the Alaska National Guard,                                                              
     because our first duty is to Alaska, to the members of the                                                                 
     guard, the citizens of this state, and our homeland defense                                                                
     role.  Now, the other aspects of the department on the                                                                     
     commissioner's side, emergency services, and if you ask, do I                                                              
     have a priority, yes, I do, and it's to be ready in emergency                                                              
     services, to respond to the emergencies as they occur in this                                                              
     state, and as we need funding from higher sources, from                                                                    
     federal sources, to be able to deal with disasters, and then                                                               
     to be able to, on the front end, to do preventive things, to                                                               
     plan for those disasters when they occur, and those                                                                        
     emergencies when they occur, to be able to respond with the                                                                
     commercial, the local, the state, the guard, the federal                                                                   
     forces from FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] and                                                                 
     others, and then to do the mitigation, the recovery, and make                                                              
     sure we get the funding to help us in disasters - enormous                                                                 
     responsibility, and one that I don't take lightly.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     And then, finally, our responsibility as stewards of the                                                                   
     resources that you give us:  I have to do a job of officially                                                              
     managing the money that you give me, to make sure I get the                                                                
     best return on our investment.  I need to "grow" the return                                                                
     that we give to this state.  And you might say that an $8                                                                  
     million state expenditure to bring in $160 million is a pretty                                                             
     good return.  And I would agree with you, but I think there                                                                
     are more resources out there that we can get.  And so, when                                                                
     you ask me my goals, they are many.  Will I achieve all of                                                                 
     them?  No, I won't, but I'll sure make a good run at them.                                                                 
     Thank you very much.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Number 370                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER commended Brigadier General Oates for his                                                                 
dedication over 30 years.  He then made a motion to advance the                                                                 
confirmation of Brigadier General Oates to the joint session of the                                                             
House and Senate.  There being no objection, the confirmation was                                                               
advanced.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL OATES thanked the committee, then commended Chair                                                             
Murkowski for leading 21 legislators, possibly a record attendance                                                              
for any major military exercise, out to the field that coming                                                                   
Thursday.  He also thanked Representatives Phillips and Mulder for                                                              
attending the Challenge Youth Program graduation, saying, "It may                                                               
be our biggest contribution, is what we do for those young people."                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI told Brigadier General Oates the committee was                                                                  
honored to have him there.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS extended her congratulations and thanks, as                                                             
well.  She emphasized how impressed she and Representative Mulder                                                               
were when they attended the Challenge Youth Program graduation                                                                  
ceremonies.  She said it is an excellent program, and they will do                                                              
their part to make sure they keep it going.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Brigadier General, Alaska Air National Guard                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 419                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
GEORGE CANNELOS, Colonel, Alaska Air National Guard, Department of                                                              
Military and Veterans Affairs, came forward.  He distributed an                                                                 
article titled, "Rescue Force," relating to a rescue by the Alaska                                                              
Air National Guard's 210th Rescue Squadron's para-rescue jumpers.                                                               
An Alaskan since 1975, he told members he came to Juneau to work                                                                
for the Department of Community and Regional Affairs after a                                                                    
four-year career in the Navy and graduate school, then moved to                                                                 
Anchorage in 1978; that is when he discovered the Alaska Air                                                                    
National Guard, "a  well-kept secret."  He joined, and he has flown                                                             
around the world as a navigator and air crew member.  He led forces                                                             
into Somalia over Christmas in 1992, commanded the squadron after                                                               
that, then came to the headquarters and became the state director                                                               
of operations and chief of staff.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS noted that for most of those years, he was a                                                                   
classic traditional guardsman, with a family and a different                                                                    
career; only in the past two-and-a-half years has he gone full                                                                  
time.  On the civilian side, he has worked in over 50 communities                                                               
statewide, and he lived in rural Alaska for a time, as well.  He                                                                
stated, "I hope I bring a depth to this position that I think will                                                              
be put to good use."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS discussed his vision for the organization.  He                                                                 
told members that Alaska has a very good air guard now.  It is                                                                  
unusual in the country; most states have single-scope                                                                           
organizations, with one flying squadron detached from the Air Force                                                             
and little interaction.  He noted that among the reserve services,                                                              
the Air Force and air guard have done it best.  In Alaska, because                                                              
of the strategic importance of the state, because of the proximity                                                              
of Elmendorf and the air guard, and because both sides have worked                                                              
so hard to integrate the missions, neither service can do its work                                                              
without the other.  Colonel Cannelos mentioned Eielson Air Force                                                                
Base and the necessity of using the air guard's aerial refuelers.                                                               
He stated, "The fighters could not launch without our combat rescue                                                             
forces on alert.  Our air lifters, as General Oates said, are tied                                                              
right into the Pacific air forces and their plans.  It's a very,                                                                
very good system, and we work hard ... to make it better."                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS said they have also worked hard over the years to                                                              
acquire missions with direct state benefits, such as the C-130 air                                                              
lifters used in emergencies and for events like Operation Santa                                                                 
Claus.  They are involved in missions such as "innovative readiness                                                             
training" and "Arctic care" in the villages.  He emphasized the                                                                 
need to look for ways to use these resources, which are paid for by                                                             
federal dollars, to provide better benefits to the state and                                                                    
communities.  He stated, "I look for a partnership with this                                                                    
committee to look for good ideas, into how we can better do that."                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS pointed out that currently there are 2,000 men and                                                             
women in the organization, two-thirds of whom are traditional guard                                                             
members.  He stated, "We've got some very special opportunities.                                                                
General Oates talked about the ... NORAD mission in Alaska and the                                                              
space mission at Clear.  And those are two examples where the Air                                                               
Force, in this time of reorganization and downsizing the military,                                                              
has approached us with taking over those missions.  Clear is an                                                                 
excellent example where currently about 140 or so ... largely                                                                   
single young military members rotate in and out of that facility,                                                               
that come and go year after year.  They do a very good job, but                                                                 
they're largely insular.  They don't contribute to the regional                                                                 
economy very much.  They don't add value to the community, if you                                                               
will."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS continued, "If the air guard had Clear, it's my                                                                
view that ... we could have families there, living in that Interior                                                             
area, from Nenana to Healy to Fairbanks, Anderson.  And because up                                                              
to 40 of them would be highly trained space operators, if you will,                                                             
in my view, again, with a partnership with the state, that's a                                                                  
catalyst for the Fairbanks area, for the nation's space industry,                                                               
partnerships with the university; it all starts to add together.                                                                
So, I want to look for opportunities where we're in partnership                                                                 
with the state, we can 'grow' the guard in meaningful ways."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 476                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS told members the article he had distributed shows                                                              
the caliber of the young men and women in the Alaska Air National                                                               
Guard.  He stated, "The most sobering aspect of this position is                                                                
how to inspire and motivate and lead these fabulous people.  I had                                                              
a physical Saturday morning at Kulis, and most of the folks that                                                                
were doing probing and prodding were traditional guardsmen.  I                                                                  
asked them:  What did they do for a living?  One young lady is                                                                  
training to be an Anchorage firefighter.  One young man works at                                                                
McLaughlin Youth Center counseling troubled teens.  One young woman                                                             
runs a day care center.  And another is going after her master's                                                                
degree is social work and law.  And those were the first four I                                                                 
talked to.  It's an incredible organization."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 488                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked what opportunities Colonel Cannelos sees to                                                               
encourage recruitment in rural Alaska.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS replied:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     That is the question of the day.  If I only look at the air                                                                
     side, it's a challenge. ... Every one of the members of the                                                                
     air guard maintains (indisc.--coughing) every member in the                                                                
     Air Force, despite the fact that we do it on a part-time basis                                                             
     and they do it full time.  So, it means that our folks have to                                                             
     be present for duty quite often.  And the old paradigm of "a                                                               
     weekend a month and two weeks a year" is pretty much going                                                                 
     away, and our folks are doing much more than that on a regular                                                             
     basis.  And we need to be honest with our recruits that that's                                                             
     now an expectation.  That puts an added stress ... on the "can                                                             
     you balance your family and your civilian employment and your                                                              
     military career," keep all that going together.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Another dimension of this is transportation.  We do fly, on a                                                              
     regular basis, to the Kenai Peninsula, up to Fairbanks, and on                                                             
     occasion out to the big delta to bring our folks in to drill.                                                              
     And that allows people who don't live in Anchorage and                                                                     
     Fairbanks to be able to participate.  But ... the challenge of                                                             
     cost-effectively going out every month to Bethel or Nome or                                                                
     Kotzebue, or down here to Southeast, so far we haven't found                                                               
     a cost-effective way to do that.  And we're unfortunately not                                                              
     at the point where we can do a lot of drill training via                                                                   
     computers and long-distance, in the in-between stages.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     However, the Army guard and the air guard have taken some good                                                             
     steps.  We have linked our drill schedules together, so that                                                               
     we in the air side can fly Army folks in and out; that's a                                                                 
     step in the right direction.  And like General Oates, I would                                                              
     very much like to "grow" the rural areas. ... I encourage you,                                                             
     as you can, to visit the rural armories. ... It's an                                                                       
     extraordinary challenge to effectively have quality training                                                               
     in these rural areas when you only have five to ten people per                                                             
     armory meeting on the weekends.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The Army guard has a tremendous challenge ahead of it.  Part                                                               
     of it is the equation of, "what is the relevant federal                                                                    
     mission?"  Without that, there's nothing.  And the Army guard                                                              
     has made great strides to obtain relevant missions after the                                                               
     Cold War, and they're working towards air-based perimeter                                                                  
     defense and other things.  So, that's part of the equation,                                                                
     too.  I know the force dropped.  They went from about a                                                                    
     hundred villages down to about 75 villages, and that was due                                                               
     partially to the mission going away. ... And that's a BRAC,                                                                
     and that's, frankly, what the resolution would come up with.                                                               
     You should view each of those village armories as a mini-base,                                                             
     because in their own way, they contribute to those local                                                                   
     economies, like Fort Richardson contributes to Anchorage.  So,                                                             
     please don't forget those as you think about BRAC and the                                                                  
     future of the military in this state.  No solutions, but                                                                   
     that's some of my thoughts.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 521                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked how many of the 2,000 Alaska Air                                                                  
National Guard members are from Anchorage and Fairbanks.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS replied, "Because of the location of our flying                                                                
squadrons, they are mostly from Anchorage and Fairbanks.  There are                                                             
some from the Kenai Peninsula, some from Delta and outlying areas                                                               
around Fairbanks.  Very few, frankly, from the rural areas; it's                                                                
just too hard to get them back and forth, so far."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked whether Colonel Cannelos sees a                                                                   
problem in today's society with employers' letting members off of                                                               
work in order to come in for training or maneuvers, for example.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS answered that it is a very important issue.                                                                    
Formerly led by Governor Sheffield, there is a strong statewide                                                                 
group of active businessmen and women called the "Employer Support                                                              
for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)"; the recently announced leader of                                                             
that organization is Jim Campbell.  That organization advocates on                                                              
behalf of guard members with employers to work out these problems.                                                              
Colonel Cannelos pointed out that guard members have a                                                                          
responsibility to give advance notice to employers, for example,                                                                
which most do.  However, if that is not happening, the ESGR                                                                     
ombudsman can step in.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS expressed concern that as the Air Force migrates                                                               
towards the air expeditionary force (AEF) concept, the guard will                                                               
be asked to step up to increasingly more rotations.   If a                                                                      
traditional guard member is asked to do a lengthy deployment more                                                               
than once a year, for example, that causes stress to an employer.                                                               
"We do need to look at that," he added.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Number 541                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER commended Colonel Cannelos on his 30 years of                                                             
service, noting that it included combat time.  Referring to the                                                                 
extensive resume, he asked how many jobs Colonel Cannelos has now.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL CANNELOS responded, "I have a business license now that                                                                 
says 'Cannelos Group,' but I haven't used it for quite some time,                                                               
and don't plan to.  This is absolutely full time."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI asked whether there were further questions; there                                                               
were none.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 550                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a motion to advance the confirmation of                                                               
Colonel Cannelos to the joint session of the House and Senate.                                                                  
There being no objection, the confirmation was advanced.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 5:20 p.m.                                                                                                          

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