Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/12/2002 03:11 PM MLV

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND                                                                           
                       VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                                      
                       February 12, 2002                                                                                        
                           3:11 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Beverly Masek                                                                                                    
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Representative Joe Green                                                                                                        
Representative Pete Kott                                                                                                        
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Joe Hayes                                                                                                        
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 20                                                                                              
Relating to declaring September 11, 2002, as Emergency Service                                                                  
Providers and Armed Forces Appreciation Day.                                                                                    
     - MOVED CSHCR 20(MLV) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 305                                                                                                              
"An Act prohibiting certain state  employment, a student loan, or                                                               
a permanent fund dividend for a  person who fails to register for                                                               
the military  selective service;  and providing for  an effective                                                               
     - MOVED HB 305 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 324                                                                                                              
"An Act making supplemental and other appropriations for                                                                        
homeland security; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HCR 20                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:SEPT 11 DAY OF REMEMBRANCE                                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)STEVENS                                                                                            
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
01/14/02     1946       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        

01/14/02 1946 (H) MLV

01/14/02 1946 (H) REFERRED TO MLV

01/29/02 (H) MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124

01/29/02 (H) Heard & Held


01/14/02 1954 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 1/4/02


01/14/02 1954 (H) MLV, STA

01/14/02 1954 (H) REFERRED TO MLV



01/16/02 1972 (H) MLV, STA, FIN



01/16/02 1972 (H) REFERRED TO MLV 02/12/02 (H) MLV AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 124 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE GARY STEVENS Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 428 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: As sponsor of HCR 20, spoke in favor of the changes in Version C. NANCI A. JONES, Director Permanent Fund Dividend Division Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110460 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0460 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified that HB 305 will not cost the division money; however, there may be customer service problems if the effective date is 2003, and may be more appeals, reviews, and delays because of timing and other issues. VICTOR VAN HORN, Selective Service System Detachment Commander Alaska Army National Guard 515 Verstovia Sitka, Alaska 99835 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 305 and answered questions. MAJOR GENERAL PHILLIP OATES, Adjutant General/Commissioner Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs P.O. Box 5800 Fort Richardson, Alaska 99505-0800 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 305; during hearing on HB 324, explained the need for the Alaska Land Mobile Radio (ALMR) system. JULIE STINSON, ALMR Project Manager Information Technology Group Department of Administration 5900 East Tudor Road Anchorage, Alaska 99507 POSITION STATEMENT: During hearing on HB 324, presented information on the concept demonstration project in 2002 relating to the ALMR system; answered questions. DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner Office of the Commissioner Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, Alaska 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 324 and answered questions. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 02-8, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIR MIKE CHENAULT called the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting to order at 3:11 p.m. Representatives Chenault, Masek, Murkowski, and Kott were present at the call to order. Representative Green arrived as the meeting was in progress. HCR 20 - SEPT 11 DAY OF REMEMBRANCE Number 0093 CHAIR CHENAULT announced the first order of business, HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 20, Relating to declaring September 11, 2002, as Emergency Service Providers and Armed Forces Appreciation Day. Number 0122 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT moved to adopt Version C [22-LS1152\C, Kurtz, 2/11/02] as a work draft. [No objection was stated, and thus Version C was treated as adopted.] Number 0176 REPRESENTATIVE GARY STEVENS, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HCR 20, told members he appreciated the changes. Number 0189 CHAIR CHENAULT requested an amendment, on page 1, line 13, after "estimated", to change the number of lives lost to 2,840. Number 0249 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI moved to adopt the foregoing as Amendment 1. There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. Number 0270 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI moved to report CSHCR 20 [version 22- LS1152\C, Kurtz, 2/11/02, as amended] out of committee [with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes]. There being no objection, CSHCR 20(MLV) was moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. HB 305 - NONCOMPLIANCE WITH SELECTIVE SERVICE Number 0324 CHAIR CHENAULT announced the next order of business, HOUSE BILL NO. 305, "An Act prohibiting certain state employment, a student loan, or a permanent fund dividend for a person who fails to register for the military selective service; and providing for an effective date." Number 0338 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI, speaking as a prime sponsor of HB 305, explained why she believes the bill should be retitled. The title comes across as negative or prohibitive, she told members, but the purpose of HB 305 is to raise awareness about the selective service. Several other states have looked at their legislation as it ties selective service registration into certain state benefits, she said, and have titled theirs "selective service registration awareness and compliance Act," which she really likes. She further explained, "What we're attempting to do with [HB] 305 is raise the awareness of young men, that even though we don't have a draft anymore, you are still required by federal law to register." REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to a pamphlet in the committee packet, "What young men should know about REGISTERING WITH SELECTIVE SERVICE." She reminded members that any eligible male between the ages of 18 and 26 is required to register for the military selective service. Substantial penalties under federal law exist for failure to do so; for example, a person can be subject to a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison, which is substantial. Still, young men are not registering. Therefore, this bill says someone who wants to be eligible for a permanent fund dividend (PFD), an Alaska student loan, or certain state employment must comply with the [Military] Selective Service Act. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI reported that 28 other states have some variation on this, although only Alaska has a PFD. Several states tie compliance into a driver's license, for example; for someone between the ages of 18 and 26, the application has a form that says, in essence, "I consent that by signing this, if I am eligible, that I have applied for the selective service." Several states have a tie-in as well for their state student loans. Currently, under the federal system, a person who fails to [register] is ineligible for certain federal employment and federal student loans. Number 0646 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI concluded by saying there are all kinds of good reasons for encouraging young people to [register]. She noted that [Mr. Van Horn] from the Selective Service System was on teleconference from Sitka. She said she understands it is difficult to "get out to everybody in ... the various communities across the state and let them know of the requirement that still exists out there." Nor are there recruiters in all the high schools. This is an effort, therefore, to make sure that people know their obligations. Number 0773 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what happens when a person is deliberately trying to "throw off" [the Selective Service System] with a bogus or no-longer-current address, for example. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI answered that the person would also "throw off" the PFD. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether there is something that the [Permanent Fund Dividend Division, Department of Revenue] would impose if a person in that age group documented that he had registered, for example, or just stated that he had. He then suggested perhaps Nanci Jones of that division could respond. Number 0878 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI pointed out that the division's fiscal note provides comments regarding enforcement. She then read statistics from an unspecified document, saying the information [for the State of Alaska] was collected February 28, 2001. Statewide, the nonregistration rate was about 7.5 percent, she reported. In Anchorage, however, "where you would think they would have a relatively good compliance rate because of the high schools and the counselors in the schools, it looks like it's ... a little over [a] 12 percent nonregistration rate, which I find very interesting," she said. Number 1002 NANCI A. JONES, Director, Permanent Fund Dividend Division, Department of Revenue, came forward to testify. She explained that the division and the Selective Service System already trade information, so there will be no cost to the division to get the information required by the bill. However, on a customer service basis, there may be problems if the effective date is 2003. Anyone who isn't registered for this whole year wouldn't know about the bill, and because of noncompliance would be denied a PFD; she characterized it as a "blindside." MS. JONES explained a further concern. When the division trades data with others, there is a timing issue. The division gets a "tape" with a cutoff date of "X" and that someone applied, and why. That person would be denied because of not being on that "particular tape that we match." So there will be clerical issues. Also, having more people denied will increase the number of appeals. Furthermore, because the division knows that there are timing issues related to data received from various organizations such as the Selective Service System, it would also increase the number of reviews; before a person was denied, the division would look to see whether there is a timing issue, for example. Or if, in haste, the person slipped a wrong digit into the social security number and there wasn't an exact match, the computer would reject that application, again resulting in a delay in receiving the dividend for the applicant. Number 1147 CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether some problems, such as [unmatched] social security numbers, would happen when anyone applies for a PFD. MS. JONES answered in the affirmative. Number 1173 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI conveyed appreciation for Ms. Jones's comment about how the effective date ties in. She acknowledged that denying a PFD is very different from what other states are able to do, because it can be a couple of thousand dollars [a year]. She said she would consult with others and think about perhaps having a delayed effective date relating to the PFD. She commented that she believes it is important that young people get the word that although [the consequence] has always been serious, now it could affect the pocketbook [at the state level]. MS. JONES clarified that the effective date "goes to the next dividend." The division is always looking at the qualifying year, which is the previous year. For 2003, therefore, the division would look at 2002. If [the effective date becomes] 2004, the division would look at 2003. Number 1264 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said it sounds as though what Ms. Jones had just explained would take care of his own concerns. Because the division exchanges address lists, a person who gave a bogus address would be "popped out" right away. MS. JONES concurred. Number 1289 CHAIR CHENAULT suggested perhaps having the current effective date would only delay [the PFD for] some individuals who cannot prove [registration] or who haven't registered yet, and that if the information were brought to the division or sent in, that person's check would be processed. MS. JONES pointed out that as the bill is worded, however, the person must be in compliance. If a person must be in compliance for calendar year 2002, someone who registered [with the selective service] on January 3, 2003, would be out of luck. "It's a strict compliance: either you are or you're not," she added. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI acknowledged that she'd been thinking the same thing [that Chair Chenault had suggested], that once the person got the notice from the division, he could just register and then send [proof] to the division. However, that doesn't get the person into compliance for the eligibility year. Number 1363 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked whether Ms. Jones envisions some coordinated effort by the division to notify the Selective Service System regarding individuals who hadn't [registered]. He suggested ensuring compliance is really what the Selective Service System should be doing all along. MS. JONES explained that every year, the Selective Service System asks the division to compile a list of people between the ages of 18 and 26 who live in Alaska. The division provides it from the rolls for the PFD, and the Selective Service System then compares it with its "tapes" to determine the compliance rate. Now, the Selective Service System would send the division a tape, and the division would do a match. The division already would know who isn't in compliance, she added. Number 1464 VICTOR VAN HORN, Selective Service System Detachment Commander, Alaska Army National Guard, testified via teleconference, stating support for HB 305. A person who doesn't register loses out on federal financial aid, federal job training, and some jobs such as those at post offices, he pointed out, so consequences go beyond those at the state level. Also a schoolteacher, he said he'd hate to see students "miss out on this." He told members: We try to ... have registrars in the high schools, and right now we're about at 90 percent; so we're doing a pretty good job of that, but it's still not getting out to everybody, and there are some that are slipping by the wayside. And those are the ones we need to affect, that [10 to] 15 percent. If we could get schools at 100 percent, at least we would cover all the schools, but there's still some that get by the wayside, that don't go all the way through school, that drop out [for example]. ... Those students still have to register with the selective service. MR. VAN HORN said there are a lot of important reasons to register, and many people don't realize that until later when they discover they've missed a job opportunity at a post office, for example, after they turn 26. They can still register all the way up to the age of 26, he pointed out. MR. VAN HORN described various ways to register. It can be done by computer, which is what most high schools use. He remarked, "You can register 30 days before you're 18, and we catch a lot of them that way." A person can register at the post office, which also has a change-of-address form, and to his belief a person can change an address online as well. Mr. Van Horn said, "Usually the selective service is pretty good about sending a registration card out to as many 18-year-olds as they possibly can, and all they have to do is send it back and check it off." He acknowledged that some people lose the cards. Number 1624 MR. VAN HORN noted that [HB 305] talks about losing certain state employment, the Alaska student loan, and the PFD. He said many states have provisions whereby [those who don't comply with selective service registration] lose state employment and other benefits such as state loans. This isn't a new thing, but is just coming to Alaska now. He pointed out that the military had downsized. He said the Selective Service System is "ready to go into operation mainly because of medical personnel" that would be needed if there were a catastrophe. That is another important reason for having the Selective Service System. Number 1702 MR. VAN HORN reported that there are only three selective service officers in Alaska, "and only two at this point in time." Although working on it part-time, he said it consumes most of his extra time; he teaches full-time. There are only two people trying to make sure there are registrars in all the schools and so forth. The Selective Service System only has a budget of $25 million to run the whole system, including full- time people in Denver, Virginia, and Chicago. "Those are the three regions that we go under," he added. He noted that he'd been the detachment commander for about three years. Number 1747 CHAIR CHENAULT asked what happens regarding home-schooled children. MR. VAN HORN answered that Sitka, for example, has a home-school program; [those students] are contacted by the registrar in the high school as soon as they reach high school age. Mentioning the alternative high school, he further indicated that the registrar sometimes must do "dual service." Referring to a correspondence school in Fairbanks, he remarked, "We've contacted them"; he explained that a student who is becoming a senior [at the high school level] is contacted and reminded to register with the Selective Service System. Whether students are in correspondence or home-school study, he said, "we try to cover all of them, if at all possible." He noted that there is a list of schools that they use, trying to ensure that everyone has had some kind of contact, through the registrar, with the Selective Service System. Number 1845 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN referred to the statistics provided by Representative Murkowski; he called the numbers for Anchorage "startling." He asked whether Mr. Van Horn knew why that compliance has been so low, and what can be done to improve it. MR. VAN HORN said although Anchorage has the largest schools, "we have the hardest time getting a registrar in those larger schools or in the schools in Anchorage." In contrast, smaller schools are willing to help out "just about as well as they possibly can," he said; some registrars cover two or three schools, rather than just one. As a good example, he noted that in Southeast Alaska only one school - Kake - doesn't have a registrar; he expects one there this year or next, however. In the Anchorage School District, though, perhaps ten high schools still don't have [a registrar]. Number 1925 CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether that is due to the district or the schools themselves. MR. VAN HORN answered that some is due to the school. "We contact them at least once or twice a year, trying to get a registrar," he explained. "And I still haven't been able to get them. And my next step is to contact the Department of Education [and Early Development] and see if they can help us get some of those schools to get registrars in, and get Alaska up to 100 percent." He offered that four [areas] have 100 percent compliance in Western Alaska. "The schools in Anchorage [are] where we're having the toughest time," he concluded. Number 1976 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI told members she would get a better copy of the chart [from which she was reading the statistics], which was difficult to read. She then pointed out that Kodiak Island has 100 percent registration compliance, as do the Lake and Peninsula School District, the Matanuska-Susitna district, North Slope, and Nome. She offered her understanding that Representative Foster was a selective service officer prior to when he became a legislator; she suggested that perhaps accounts for the success in the Nome area. Number 2026 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked what the time limitation is to register once a person turns 18. MR. VAN HORN explained that a person has from 30 days before his 18th birthday until he turns 26. Even if a person forgets to register at age 18, there is plenty of time. Most register by the time they are 19, if they are going to register. A few string along until age 20 or more. He emphasized the importance of registering before age 26, at which point the person loses a lot of privileges such as federal job training. Number 2081 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT inquired about civil or criminal penalties for not registering. MR. VAN HORN said he believes it is quite a large sum. Although there is some criminal [penalty], he said, nobody has been prosecuted by the Selective Service System because there hasn't been a war situation. "It's hard to prosecute somebody when we don't have something that's pressing," he commented, pointing out that since the United States is fighting terrorism now, things may change. He said he would obtain that information shortly. Number 2145 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI thanked Mr. Van Horn, adding that she hadn't realized that only three selective service officers cover the whole state, and that there are only two right now. She acknowledged the large number of youths and territory that Mr. Van Horn must cover, in addition to his full-time job. Number 2168 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN inquired about the difficulty in the Anchorage schools, asking whether Mr. Van Horn has been talking with the principals or counselors. MR. VAN HORN explained that the contact with schools in Anchorage is with both principals and counselors. He finds it is better to get somebody to be the registrar, he said, to put up posters and so forth; usually it is the counselor who does that, "but if we go through the principal, usually we have a pretty good time of getting a registrar there." REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked, "And you're getting shut out?" MR. VAN HORN answered, "For a few of them. Most of them are pretty good, though." Number 2230 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked Mr. Van Horn whether he believes, if HB 305 is enacted, that he'd receive more assistance from counselors, who'd be more motivated to encourage students to comply with selective service requirements, knowing that students otherwise might be ineligible for state student loans and PFDs, for example. MR. VAN HORN replied, "I know I would." He pointed out that although counselors are very busy, they try to prepare students before leaving high school to make sure they get their student loans. If [HB 305] were added, he said, counselors would make it a point to ensure that students are registered. He noted that the Alaska Guard Youth Corps Camp actually puts students in front of a computer and has them register right there, resulting in 100 percent registration. He concluded, "I know it would help ... me in talking to those counselors, in each one of those schools that do not have a registrar, to help students register for the draft." Number 2342 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked what happens after a person turns 26 and still hasn't registered. Has that person beaten the system? MR. VAN HORN replied that the person definitely wouldn't have beaten the system. He recounted stories from when people haven't registered but have falsely believed they could get a post office job, federal job training, or federal financial aid for college, for example. He noted that people entering the military must register, and that National Guard recruiters are registrars as well. "We catch them in many different ways prior to the 26 [years of age]," he said. "But after that, if they haven't registered, then they can't get some of the federal jobs that are offered." He said because there hasn't been prosecution [of those who fail to register], he can't recall all the details regarding that, but it is a substantial fine and imprisonment. Number 2450 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT inquired whether there is a statute of limitations regarding when a person can register. He suggested a person from a well-off family, who doesn't require financial assistance, a post office job, or any federal or state aid, would essentially beat the system. If caught, the person wouldn't be prosecuted. MR. VAN HORN said most people actually register, but he'd hate to see the few who drop out miss a chance later in life to work at a federal job or get some federal training. "Those are important people to get registered," he remarked. He also suggested that because [HB 305] will "catch" those who apply for a PFD, even wealthier people will be caught because most Alaskans apply for the dividend. Number 2537 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI advised members that in the packet is a memorandum from the Selective Service System dated December 27, 2001. It indicates that 37 Alaskans over the past three years have been identified who failed to register and then later tried to get a federal job or aid after they turned 26 years old; for those people, it is too late. The memorandum [from the Region III Director in Denver, Colorado] estimates there is $185,000 [in federal funds lost by a state when a person fails to register]. MR. VAN HORN noted that Charlie Smith, the state director from Juneau, had wanted to testify. He then asked that members direct questions to either himself or the full-time regional director, Colonel Lyle Wilkes. He expressed the desire to get everyone registered and to make a fair and equitable selective service. If the draft ever is reinstated, the main concern is that it be fair and equitable for everyone, which requires that everyone be in the pool, not just those [who need jobs and aid, for example], he concluded. CHAIR CHENAULT thanked Mr. Van Horn. Number 2726 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked Ms. Jones whether a block on the PFD application form would ask - yes or no - whether the person is between the ages of 18 and 26, and if so, whether that person has registered for the draft. If the person answers no, [the form would state that] the applicant is not eligible for a PFD. He'd like to see that included on the form, he said, because he wants to see 100 percent compliance, rather than taking away someone's PFD or ability to apply for a student loan; he suggested that is what the sponsor would like as well. "If the schools are letting us down, maybe we can pick up that small percentage by putting it on the [PFD] application itself," he added. "If you say 'yes' and you didn't [register], then you're subject to other state penalties." MS. JONES answered that the division would do something similar to that. She explained, however: We don't like to discourage people from filing [for] a dividend. Legally, everyone has a right to file for a dividend. So we would put some language on there that asks that question, "Are you ...?" We would just soften it up and say, "You may not be eligible for a dividend if you don't [register]," ... and then have something in the explanation booklets, rather than say, "Don't even apply," because someone might not understand that, and miss the deadline for the dividend, and wind up in appeals, and there's some legal thing, "Well, you encouraged ... me not to file." So we don't discourage people from filing, even though the rules say that they probably aren't eligible. Number 2825 CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether anyone else wished to testify; there was no response. He then asked Representative Murkowski whether she needed time to contemplate the effective date. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI answered that the bill has a referral to the House State Affairs Standing Committee. Based on testimony, she said, the effective date is something she should look at, as it applies to the PFD, to ensure that "we don't unwittingly reject some permanent fund applicants just because they didn't know." She emphasized, however, that people between the ages of 18 and 26 should be [registering with the Selective Service System]. She concluded that it wasn't necessary to hold the bill in committee, although the change could be made at the current hearing and then revisited, if necessary, in the next committee. She deferred to Chair Chenault. CHAIR CHENAULT said he would entertain a motion. Number 2888 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK explained why she doesn't support the bill. She noted that the sponsor statement refers to an "effort to encourage". However, from the bill and testimony, she said, it appears the sponsor statement isn't correct. The bill appears to add another layer of requirements. It prohibits people who don't register from getting [state] benefits, including the PFD, jobs, or money for college. It's already a federal law, she said, and she doesn't see why the state must debate the issue. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said she sees [HB 305] as a move to gain more government control in the choices that Alaskans want to make; it says, "You'd better file or else ... you're not going to get any of this funding." She said she understands the intent, but reiterated that there is already a federal law [requiring registration]. She questioned the need to put it in statute, saying it makes no sense to her. Number 2990 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI agreed that it says, "Do it or else." At the federal level, it is a requirement, and there are federal consequences for [failure to comply]. TAPE 02-8, SIDE B Number 3001 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI said although [Representative Masek] may see it as overkill, obviously [the federal law] isn't getting the attention of all eligible Alaskans. She stated, "My purpose is to get their full attention. And I think that this would." Number 2977 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK responded that she believes it is too far- fetched and is like blackmail: "You'd better do it or else." She tries to encourage youth to get educated, she said, and this seems like a prohibition. She suggested the federal government probably should do a better job to encourage more people to sign up. She said this is "an encroachment that's gone way too far." Number 2945 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT remarked that he appreciates what Representative Masek has said, but believes the sponsor statement is fairly accurate because there is a requirement right now that a [male] between the ages of 18 and 26 must register. He suggested the sponsor is trying to encourage those individuals to fulfill that requirement. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT referred to the testimony of Ms. Jones and said, "Again, I'm not out here trying to catch people. I want to encourage people, through whatever mechanism, that they do sign up, so they don't lose the benefits later on." He said there can be argument about the percentages, but he would think the majority of adults aren't draft dodgers, but are just ignorant about the situation. He suggested having the statement on the PFD [application] would solve the problem. Based on Ms. Jones's testimony, he offered, it is good to get those people upfront, right at the beginning, so they don't fall through the cracks and later, when applying for a postal position, find out [it's too late], especially because there hasn't been a draft in effect. Number 2870 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK replied that if it's a federal law that has been on the books awhile, the federal government should be the entity to do the "imposing and carrying it out" if people aren't signing up and registering. She reiterated her belief that this bill is further encroachment, to add control; that this is a federal issue; and that the Selective Service System should be doing a lot more to reach out to youths who are graduating from high school, to encourage them to file. She said [HB 305] isn't a good way to get people to [register], by using these "blackmail" tactics, especially for employment and education. She said she wouldn't support it. Number 2782 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN agreed with Representative Kott that other than for the very small percentage who are trying to beat "the system," this is trying to help "sometimes forgetful teenagers to keep out of trouble." [Under federal law] they would be subject to five years in jail and a tremendous fine, besides the state incentive. He noted that sometimes teenagers aren't thinking clearly, but affecting their pocketbooks [may help]. He suggested this bill would help Alaska's teenagers [by keeping them away from the stiff federal sanctions]. He said he'd like to see 100 percent [compliance]. He added, "We go to the feds for a lot of help up here. It seems like the least we could do is kind of 'help back' a little." Number 2725 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT encouraged Representative Murkowski, as the sponsor, to look at the effective date regarding the PFD. He noted that she'd also said perhaps a title change would be in order. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI acknowledged that. Number 2712 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN moved to report HB 305 from committee with individual recommendations and the attached zero fiscal note. There being no objection, HB 305 was moved out of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs. Number 2679 CHAIR CHENAULT called an at-ease at 4:06 p.m. He called the meeting back to order at 4:11 p.m. HB 324-HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS [Contains testimony in support of HB 305 by Major General Oates] Number 2675 CHAIR CHENAULT announced the final order of business, HOUSE BILL NO. 324, "An Act making supplemental and other appropriations for homeland security; and providing for an effective date." Number 2670 MAJOR GENERAL PHILLIP OATES, Adjutant General/Commissioner, Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA), came forward to testify on HB 324. First, however, he commended the committee for passing HB 305. He remarked on the importance of reminding young men and women about serving their country. Furthermore, he said HB 305 is a reminder that the common defense of the country is not just a federal responsibility, but a state responsibility and an individual responsibility as well. "Therefore, I applaud your effort, and I think you did exactly the right thing," he concluded. "And I'm proud ... of you, as the military and veterans' committee, to take that approach to service, and especially to military service." MAJOR GENERAL OATES returned attention to HB 324, noting that he would address the Alaska Land Mobile Radio (ALMR) system, a complex topic. He informed members that he would go through some frequently asked questions. Number 2549 MAJOR GENERAL OATES first asked: What is a land mobile radio (LMR) system and why do we need it? He explained that it is the two-way system in use today nationwide by first responders and public safety officials for effective and private communications. It allows mobile communications over the two- way network. It is needed because other systems - such as cellular communications, the public telephone system, or CB [citizens band] radios - don't provide, by law, the priority and security required by first responders in public safety roles. MAJOR GENERAL OATES next asked: What is a trunk land mobile radio system? In two-way radio communications, he told members, "trunking" refers to automatic sharing of a small number of radio channels among a large number of radio users. He pointed out that when someone using a CB radio pushes the button to talk, nobody else can talk. With a land mobile radio system, however, a person can push a button to talk, and then that frequency and spectrum also can be used for other purposes because there is computerized switching. It is a limited spectrum that allows multiple users. Number 2461 MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked: What is the Alaska Land Mobile Radio (ALMR) system? He answered: It is a land mobile radio system for the State of Alaska, for the Alaska Municipal League, that encompasses all of our communities, for the federal Department of Defense [DOD] and other federal agencies that are non-DOD. And it is designed to identify a solution for LMR, and to establish a migration path to that solution that meets the needs of all these agencies. MAJOR GENERAL OATES said it makes it possible to use over a wide area - all of Alaska, ultimately, with all the phases. It adds air and maritime communications to land [communications], and allows use of multiple vendors to provide solutions and technology for the system. Furthermore, it allows transmission of data. He explained: This handheld device, through the benefits of IP [Internet protocol] addressing - which is what you use with a computer and you use on the Internet - can target, to individual users, the ability to receive data or transmit data to certain users. And we can also identify workgroups, like you would on a computer, in an e-mail system, so when you push to ... talk, that workgroup automatically hears what you're doing. So ... the Alaska Land Mobile Radio system ultimately will be ... an integrated, wireless network that is secure and interoperable, that is cost- effective and technology-sound. Number 2361 MAJOR GENERAL OATES offered the next question: Why can't we use the current approach in systems, instead of changing to the ALMR system? He answered: We can. However, we will ... do so at significant cost. It will continue to be inefficient and lack full interoperability between first responders. Also, the federal government has been mandated to move to a new system that supports narrowband technology. There is wideband and there's narrowband. And the reason they've been mandated to go to a narrowband technology is that technology permits that. That narrowband can be analog communications, which are these ways of communications, or the ones and zeros of digital communications. So you can go with either system, but the federal agencies have been mandated, by 2005 to 2008, to go to those systems. So what happens to us then? They can't mandate [that] the state go to these systems. The fact is, our systems here in the state are old. They're costly to maintain. And many of them are in need of replacement. So ... if you've got to pay to migrate but you've also got to pay if you don't migrate - to allow that interoperability, to maintain and continue your existing systems - why not pay to migrate along with the other players and have a truly interoperable and higher technical solution to the dollars you've spent? And the dollars, ultimately, might ... be as much if you don't migrate as they are if you do migrate. Again, what does "the federal government mandated to go to narrowband" mean? It just means that the U.S. Department of Commerce has mandated the migration of all federal land mobile radio systems, from wideband to narrowband, by 2005 and 2008 - so, during that period. This doubles the available radio spectrum. And ... it will require all federal agencies to replace their existing LMR infrastructure and implement that, either in an analog or a digital solution. Number 2251 MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked: What does "backward compatible" mean, and why is that important to the ALMR system? He said it is important because not everyone will be able to switch systems on a given date, due to the challenges of funding and the different agencies involved. Just as a new computer system is compatible with previous systems, part of the ALMR will be compatible with the old systems in order to allow them to be used. However, with the old systems there will not be full technical interoperability, "a solution that will allow us to move into the future and use the full benefits of narrowband digital communications." MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked: What communications standard will we use for the ALMR system? He answered that the industry standards for LMR for public safety use are prepared under the auspices of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). He explained: The APCO Project 25 standards have been selected in this cooperative partnership we have here in Alaska. Again, that's a partnership with the municipalities, with the state, with the federal non-DOD and the federal DOD, because that meets their requirements. If we went to a different solution, some of these players ... would fall out because they are mandated among themselves to migrate to that solution. Number 2151 MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked: Why use a standard? He answered that without adhering to a standard, the state, local, and federal public safety entities will essentially be compelled to implement system solutions that lack "full interoperability of security." He further asked: Why would a solution like the ALMR solution be difficult to establish in other states? If this is a such a good idea, why isn't everybody doing it? To answer, he said: I think we're leading the way, and I think Alaska ... will be the first state in the nation - indeed, maybe the first place in the world - to have a totally interoperable system. But I think it'll be the wave of the future. And I think you'll see enough emphasis on this, because of September 11, that you'll see other communities, in spite of their large population centers, competing or lack of supporting resources, inability of different government agencies in the government levels to work out cooperative agreements for their mutual [benefit] -- and I think you will see us overcome those difficulties. And again, I think we'll be an important model for the nation. And that's ... not only important for Alaska, but it's also important in many, many other ways, ... to our military, to our interoperability. But also, to have technical solutions up here that are leading the nation and the world is only good for our other technological inroads into the future. Number 2081 MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked: What happens if communities don't participate? He answered that they can continue with existing systems that don't provide full user interoperability. He added, "But again, you pay to migrate or you pay not to migrate. And then, if you pay not to migrate, you also lose the advantages of the new technology." MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked next: What happens if we fiscally support the project today and it is not supported in future years by legislative appropriations at the state level? He said the system is designed with a building-block approach and can be added to, once more funding is identified. In addition, money won't be wasted because of the backward compatibility. Number 2035 MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked: What is the current funding strategy for the state, and how much funding will the state have to commit to over the life of the project? He answered: Almost 90 percent of the funding of the project will be provided from federal funding. Remember, half of that team is ... federal agencies already. But also, because of homeland security issues and the requirement for communications and information sharing and intelligence sharing, you'll see more and more dollars available - if we're smart enough to get it and have a program on the ground here to get that federal funding. Currently, the first three phases of the project are included in our state's homeland security request. Now, here's an important thing: If federal funding is appropriated, as we think it will [be], the state's matching amount over the course of the project would be approximately $6.1 million. Now, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the huge cost of all the federal agencies and everybody else that comes into this. But this is a bite-sized chunk for the state, if you think of it in terms of $6.1 million over all the phases ... of the program. Number 1984 MAJOR GENERAL OATES asked next: What was the plan for funding before September 11? He answered: Since September 11, enabling interoperable radio communications at a state and local level has obtained national attention and prioritization. More specifically, homeland security program funding appropriations, and other related national initiatives, which will be funded - which is now currently the target for funding the initial phases of the ALMR project. MAJOR GENERAL OATES concluded by noting that Julie Stinson would talk about the project team, the system, and the concept demonstration project; following that, Del Smith, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public Safety (DPS), would wrap up the presentation. He offered to answer questions. Number 1928 CHAIR CHENAULT informed members that Wayne Rush [of the DMVA] was online, and that Mark Johnson [of the Department of Health and Social Services] was present in support of the legislation. Number 1895 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what security could be employed for a system like this, which is interactive nationwide. MAJOR GENERAL OATES surmised that Representative Green was talking about the secure communications themselves. He mentioned the use of industry standards and public safety standards. He said an inherent requirement in those standards, and in this new technology, mandates the ability to communicate in a secure fashion. He added: Although we are now within those standards devising an Alaskan solution, ... we ultimately think this same solution will probably be taken on by ... the lower 48 states, if you will. But part of those requirements in those existing standards, and the advantages of going to narrowband and digital communications, is also the ability to have more secure communications, so if you're not on that IP address of that (indisc.-- coughing), you cannot hear it. It's not like where you've got a scanner and it can pick up police broadcasts. MAJOR GENERAL OATES indicated the experts could perhaps offer further information. Number 1786 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI mentioned backward compatibility. She requested clarification about why the new system is needed if the old one already allows communication. MAJOR GENERAL OATES replied: First of all, we are always updating equipment, especially as it gets older and the maintenance costs go up for that equipment. And we're always updating equipment to hopefully take advantage of new technology. So one is, across the state of Alaska, when you look at a state perspective, our equipment, as a ... general statement, is approximately 25 years old, when you look at the infrastructure that we had to communicate across so many of the devices we use. So, again, we will pay if we go with the federal government. But we will also have to pay in increased maintenance costs and the enhancements to that system if we don't migrate, but then we won't have the advantages of the new technology. Now, when you talk about backward compatibility, what ... you're saying here, in this land mobile radio context, is that we've designed the system so the existing first-responder equipment could be used. But it will not have the advantage of ... fully interoperable, digital IP-addressing equipment; ... it will be one radio using one channel to speak to one other radio, as opposed to one radio being able to talk and speak to air or ground or maritime to multiple users, and pass digital communications in a more secure mode. So, we've designed this so you can still talk, but that's all you'll be able to do. And ... in that scenario, it's ... more like a CB radio-type of system. One person pushes and one person hears, but you don't have the ability to network in as many other people as you would in this system. So, truly, you can still speak, but you don't have the advantages. And when we think in a homeland security [environment] of huge events and tremendous interagency response and resourcing and assistance, we need to have an ability to be able to control the situation better, and that requires much more ability to communicate, because in the military, you will always see that any operation, and the success of that operation, is built on your ability to communicate. Number 1588 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI noted that in terms of the ability to communicate statewide, one argument she's heard against it is a questioning of the need for a little, remote community to let a larger community in Southeast Alaska, for example, know what is going on. Referring to Major General Oates' explanation of the building-block approach to funding, she asked whether it would work if key areas have up-to-date equipment, but small, rural communities use older technology for now. She explained that she was trying to get around the fiscal note and still have the system work. Number 1449 MAJOR GENERAL OATES said the ALMR is built in phases. First will be the concept demonstration, which Ms. Stinson would address. The next phase will orient on the population centers on the road system and in the Railbelt; other phases will add areas such as Southeast Alaska and outlying areas. He further said: [In] some cases, part of this system will have the ability to deploy this capability to an area. In other words, those that don't have it will have some deployable ability to establish this type of capability wherever you are. The system ... is not envisioned to allow you to talk from Nome to, say, Bethel, as much as it is to have fully interoperable capability in that geographic area, when you go to that geographic area for a significant problem. So, in other words, if we have a situation that happens in Nome - whether that would be because of severe weather or collateral damage from some type of biological attack that ended up in a devastating scenario in Nome - we could, then, have the ability to have fully interoperable communications and have the ability to put other resources there and interact, more so than we want Nome to communicate with some other system. But the good thing about this design is that there are different phases that we will fund. And wherever we end up in that funding, even if we take a (indisc.), that funding is not lost and we still have the capability that exists, and we'll still have the ability for the older systems to at least have the ability ... to function, although at less capability. MAJOR GENERAL OATES requested confirmation that the system was designed not so much to allow someone in Nome to communicate statewide, but rather to be interoperable in a geographic area. Number 1280 [Julie Stinson responded off-microphone that the system was designed for the more populated areas, and that Phase 4 will be for rural areas.] MAJOR GENERAL OATES concluded: I don't think I can overemphasize the point of the value to the state to have a system like this, that is on the technological leading edge and makes us more integrated and more interoperable, whether that's military purposes or it's emergency response or public safety. The further we ... push the state in these areas, the more advantages and opportunities we also bring to the state. So I think, truly, ... you're fertilizing the ground for other opportunities to grow, in addition to what we see here growing. MAJOR GENERAL OATES turned the presentation over to Ms. Stinson. Number 1232 JULIE STINSON, ALMR Project Manager, Information Technology Group, Department of Administration, came forward to testify, noting that she had prepared a folder containing information for the committee. She told members she would explain what is going on with the concept demonstration project in 2002, talk about timelines, and discuss funding. She noted that the packet includes funding information; an overview of requirements for different participating agencies; funding opportunities from various sources; a map of the "full-phased approach"; some project overview information; a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in April by the four partners; and a document in support of the project from the City of Fairbanks police department. Number 1047 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if there is a reason for not including support from Anchorage. MS. STINSON said no. The Municipality of Anchorage isn't in a situation to change its system yet, although in a couple years it will be. By contrast, the City of Fairbanks currently is requesting $900,000 in funding, and has received some of it. She explained: They're depending on our system to implement their consolidated dispatch system. Their system design is based on ... the infrastructure of the ALMR system; ... they can act independently, but they're buying equipment that is totally compatible with the statewide initiative. ... And some of the first phases of our project are ... with the Department of Defense, ... in the Fairbanks area. So we can truly show true interoperability from the City of Fairbanks with the DOD's presence in Fairbanks, if we have the infrastructure in place in that area. So it's ... somewhat unique. Number 0953 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether the City of Fairbanks is requesting the $900,000. MS. STINSON mentioned grant programs and said: I think that they have received the $900,000, or will. I know that ... their mayor was back in D.C. with [Major General] several weeks ago, and then to [U.S.] Senator Stevens' office as well, to talk about this money. I think they were short some amount. ... There's many grant programs available for ... local governments and equipment like this. But there's not an awful lot of grant programs that will fund and support $67 million worth of infrastructure. But for $50,000 for a whole bunch of radios, you bet, but not for the ... bigger picture. But ... they're in support of the initiative because ... they want to tie into the system as soon as they can, for full features. Number 0880 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI referred to a pie chart for estimated system costs that shows the local government share at $29 million. She surmised that Ms. Stinson was suggesting a good portion of that could come from grants. MS. STINSON affirmed that. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI added, "But not the state's." MS. STINSON replied: Not the grant programs. But ... we are requesting for federal funds through the homeland security initiative, at this point, and there's other federal appropriations that were noted on that funding opportunity sheet, in this package, of other places perhaps we could go for funding. Number 0822 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether [the City of Fairbanks] is waiting to find out what the state is going to do in order to know what vendors to use; she asked whether it is that specific, and whether several vendors out there have the type of units that the city would be looking to convert to. MS. STINSON replied: On the vendor side, they've gone out for bid, and they've got a system design that matches our ... total system design that I'll talk a little bit about here in a minute. But ... they need to deploy because some of their monies will go away if they don't start with the implementation. And so they're [sharing] some of the infrastructure with us, as far as the Birch Hill antennas and things like that. And so they're anxious for us to get some of that site work done so that ... they can operate their system. They have alternative plans, but it would be money wasted, in their eyes, if we're going to do it eventually. So, they are sitting back and saying ..., "When should I buy these radios for this new system? How should I plan? If I get grant money today, how should I spend it in the future?" So, we're developing some tools for those communities, and it's a radio matrix, basically: "Here's all the radios that are available; here's the timeframe; here's the area you live in; and this is what our implementation plans are, if everything goes as planned." ... The local governments are saying, "We have to deploy now because we're going to lose our money, and we're going to deploy this way, and then put a cost in to upgrade the system, to make the tie- in back to the statewide system." But the designs are the same. At least we're co-planning. ... Several years ago, that wasn't occurring. Number 0662 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether the "$16 million non-DOD" is federal non-DOD or grants, for example. MS. STINSON answered that on this funding chart, the "local government and the non-DOD" are for subscriber equipment only. She explained: In non-DOD, typically they have a budget cycle where they budget radios into their standard budget cycle. With local governments, this isn't a mandate that they have to move to our system. But with all the different communities that were surveyed, this is the amount of radio and user equipment that was identified, and the ... estimated cost for that. And typically, on the non-DOD side, they're [federal agencies], so they don't typically apply for grants. Number 0585 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether there is no share, then, from local government in the infrastructure. MS. STINSON said no. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked why. MS. STINSON said she could get back with an answer. She added that the system originally was designed several years ago, before she [worked for the department]. She asked Mr. Smith to address it if possible. REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI remarked that it seems local government agencies such as the Fairbanks police department are getting great benefits from it. She noted that Fairbanks would have had its own infrastructure under an old system, even if it were a simple "trunking" system. Number 0504 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner, Department of Public Safety, responded, saying he has been a "land mobile radio representative" since about 1996 for the State of Alaska. He said a substantial part of the system "backbone" involves the state's existing telecommunications system; he mentioned the microwave towers around the state and the plan to use those, as well as some DOD sites. He indicated most municipalities deal with what is local, without "long-haul capability" or dealing outside their own organizations. Therefore, there isn't one voice speaking for all the municipalities. MR. SMITH noted that ultimately, when the system is up and running, how to charge back for maintenance will be looked at, for example. An issue that could arise is amortizing what was spent originally to create it. He explained: We felt that - the federal government and the State of Alaska - the DOD portion was in the best position to provide the infrastructure. And because the military has a mission up and down the highway, ... and they needed that infrastructure, we've added some in our design that [the] military is not concerned about; it's not part of their mission - certainly down the Kenai Peninsula, down to Kodiak, and in Southeast Alaska. Number 0362 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked who does the maintenance. MR. SMITH noted that Ms. Stinson was going to talk about it. He said in this test project, it hasn't yet been determined how to manage it and apportion it. He added, "Certainly, you can't build it and walk away and not ever maintain it again." REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI responded, "Oh, no, we do that all the time." MR. SMITH said he'd like to break the cycle, then. He acknowledged that it will need to be determined whether to charge per radio, per subscriber, or a yearly fee, for example. He cited Seattle's King County as a place where agencies are involved but there is also a per-unit charge; Portland, Oregon, by contrast, built a system and charges people for subscriber units. CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether there is a cost estimate yet for maintenance. MR. SMITH said no. Number 0224 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether it should be lower than for the existing system. MR. SMITH said he couldn't guarantee it. For the proposed technology, some sites will have to be "hardened" - putting in a system with an uninterruptible power supply - to meet military requirements and 24-hour [capability]; the cost of maintenance could rise. He pointed out that a few years ago several sites were "lost" for a while because of avalanches; there was no way to get fuel there. He said there is no way to estimate the maintenance cost yet because it depends on how big the system becomes and how many other entities agree to sign on. Number 0090 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether there is any indication from other states, or whether this proposal is "the leading edge." MR. SMITH answered that there are other locations such as the ones he'd mentioned in Washington State and Oregon; although physically smaller, these locations have more radios because there are so many people and agencies involved. He said Alaska faces unique geographical challenges. MR. SMITH returned attention to Representative Murkowski's question about remote areas. He said when discussions initially began, it was uncertain how to deal with Bush Alaska because of lack of infrastructure and the substantial cost to put it there. With the involvement of federal agencies, however, part of the pilot-project testing will be done using the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) [50-some sites]. TAPE 02-9, SIDE A Number 0001 MR. SMITH explained that those ANICS [Alaskan NAS Interfacility Communications System] sites already exist; the FAA uses them to communicate with aircraft and for other functions. He mentioned a portable design that had been considered, one that could be flown to remote areas, setting up a small "trunk" radio system in case of flooding or some other disaster that is out of the mainstream of Alaska's infrastructure. However, he expressed hope that this ANICS system - part of the test project - could deliver at a relatively reasonable price. Number 0092 MAJOR GENERAL OATES added that part of the concept demonstration is to look at the business model, "how we're going to maintain this system, how well does it work together." There will be multiple "players" besides the state to pay for the "backbone." Furthermore, there are creative ideas to pay for maintenance and operations, some of which will be tested in this concept demonstration; examples are making part of the "backbone" available for private users at a cost, having some be in the form of a public corporation, or having some people may pay more because of getting more use from the system. After the concept demonstration, [the department] will be able to come back and answer these questions in more detail. Number 0221 MS. STINSON drew attention to the handout titled "ALMR Overview, February 12, 2002," noting that the "front-end" information had been covered earlier that day. She turned to the fourth page, "Statewide System Design Basis." She reported that a system design was initiated by DOD, which then consulted with the state and decided to do a statewide system design together. There was input from public safety users; local agencies are listed in the brochure titled "Alaska Land Mobile Radio Project." Ms. Stinson indicated the list would grow as other agencies become interested; before full implementation, there will need to be a survey of "the locals" again. A further design basis was ensuring both backward and forward compatibility regarding technology. MS. STINSON pointed out that the current design covers the most populated areas, but that can change. For example, following a meeting with Alyeska Pipeline [Service] Company last week, there may be an exchange - with the state's using the communications network on the haul road going north [to Prudhoe Bay] in return for Alyeska's use [of the state's network] going south to Valdez. Number 0456 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI inquired about having private users ultimately share costs. She said she doesn't know whether the need for a tight security network precludes that option; she asked whether it is possible. MR. SMITH answered yes, potentially. Since his involvement with ALMR, he said, private-sector agencies have "sort of come and gone at our meetings," although Alyeska has been there a number of times. He referred to "talk groups" and "IP addressing." He related his understanding that it could be segregated. "The amount of people that can get on a trunk system is mind-boggling to me," he said. In addition to Alyeska, Mr. Smith mentioned the electric utilities and a gas pipeline. He suggested that in a time of emergency, when the utilities need to become part of a talk group, it would be beneficial. Number 0612 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether there is any reason to include them in the current planning phase. MS. STINSON said yes. "That's why we've actually started conversations with them again," she added, "because before we do full implementation, we need to get the design refreshed, basically: Here's the technology. How many new users are we going to have on it? Who else is interested? What do we need to work into it?" She suggested there'd be two computer controllers, for redundancy, with many users on the system. She added: Perhaps they'd just pick up another controller, because they don't want to be too close to the regulating agencies, either, is what they kind of indicated. And then also, ... in a time of disaster, they're very much available and online with the rest of the system. The system is very secure that way. ... It knows where you are and who you are, and can shut you off or turn you on. So the conversations have started in that regard. The system also is a phased approach, so that if ... we receive lots of funding, we can implement the system, by site. And ... if we have shortfalls, then we can stop. MS. STINSON continued with the fourth page of the handout. She said the whole design was based off the cost-sharing approach and sharing of resources and properties. A new site right now would cost about $1 million, but instead of building new sites - locations for the repeaters and all the equipment - the proposal is for a $200,000 or $300,000 upgrade, which will save everybody money. The concept was to do shared operations and maintenance as well; that was considered in the design and in the equipment identified for purchase or procurement for that design. Number 0789 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked whether the system will be line-of- sight or use satellites, for example. He asked, "How do you cover the broad distances that we have?" MS. STINSON answered that LMR is, by nature, a land-based microwave system; that is for the "mainstream" system, and the majority is based on the existing microwave system, also referred to as the SAT (ph) system. For "long hauls," however, there are fiber, "T-1," and satellite connections as well. MS. STINSON continued with the handout. She explained that a standard [the APCO P-25] was selected so that a radio purchased in Kenai, for example, would work in Anchorage as well. By contrast, that wouldn't happen now; a person would have to be issued a radio at the new site or perhaps carry two radios. Number 0896 CHAIR CHENAULT asked how that reprogramming would occur so a Kenai policeman's radio would work in Anchorage. MR. SMITH noted that ultimately, for the most part, it would be an over-the-air-reprogrammable radio. CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether it would be done through a programmer. MS. STINSON mentioned software. MR. SMITH added that if it is software, rather than over-the-air reprogramming, "equipment somewhere" would be used to program it for the appropriate frequencies. Number 0964 CHAIR CHENAULT asked whether it would be the same radio being used in Kenai and Anchorage, then. MR. SMITH said ultimately, yes. He explained that if a person has purchased a radio that meets the APCO [P-25] standards which Ms. Stinson had referred to, and if it had been manufactured by a particular company with those standards, it could be programmed to be compatible with a talk group. MAJOR GENERAL OATES noted that each radio would have its own IP address. He added, "When that address talks to the computer system, if you will, it recognizes where that is, and then somebody just adds in that IP address to [the others]." He said the person wouldn't have to program it; it would be done centrally, to add that person to the group. MS. STINSON added that it either could be done on demand or predefined and preset. For this system, there could be 20,000 different talk groups. For example, a talk group could be the governor and the mayors, or General Schwartz and the governor. It all depends on the needs. Number 1094 MS. STINSON returned to the presentation, noting that the system design had allowed a rough estimate; it also had defined the need for a concept demonstration project because of unanswered questions such as how to operate and maintain this, how to operate together as a consortium, and whether the MOU is "strong enough to go out and procure things together." She said there are some real challenges when bringing together the DOD, the non-DOD entities, the state, and the Alaska Municipal League; there are numerous opinions within each. Number 1150 MS. STINSON brought attention to the fifth page of the handout, "System Concept." She pointed out that [with the current system] a "bad guy" who'd obtained an officer's radio, for example, could listen to the pursuit. Referring to the proposed system, she explained: If they're on this kind of a system, as far as security goes, the system would just shut them off. It would identify that radio that was missing. They know that that officer was assigned the radio, and through the system control - through [software] - it's just turned off; it doesn't work anymore. MS. STINSON further noted that when people are on a military assignment or exercise, part of the system can be "partitioned off to just go do the military, because that's a requirement - the military doesn't want us to know all their business." That is all done through computers and software, she added. Number 1225 MS. STINSON turned attention to the eighth page, which has an Alaska map labeled "Phase O: Concept Demonstration." She explained that although the concept demonstration project is a pilot project, there is a federal prohibition against calling it that without an endorsement by the President, to her belief. MS. STINSON reported that two types of goals need to be achieved through the concept demonstration. One is to build the business model discussed, which includes items listed at the bottom of the page under "Business Practices Evaluation": governance, procurement, ALMR team organizations structure, systems maintenance and operations, frequency management, and cooperative agreements and partnerships; the latter includes "all the cooperative agreements that we may or may not need with the local governments." She added: We're also going to come out of it with the best business practices and a full implementation plan of how that will be done. The way we're going to do that is through outreach and finding out, with the local communities, what their tolerance is, and what they need, and what they can do. We have to do a lot of interviewing and finding out a lot of research, and then finding out what, ... legally, as far as four entities coming together, what we can do and can't do. So that's a big portion of it, probably than the technical functionality that we're going to be testing. MS. STINSON pointed out that an opportunity exists with some local governments, such as in the Fairbanks area, for some sites to perhaps trade services so that no money will change hands. Number 1361 MS. STINSON brought attention to the ninth page, "Technical Scope." She noted that it goes over the different areas that will be touched on. She said: Wide-area connectivity is one of the big ones, where we have two controllers - where DOD will have a controller and we'll have a controller - and we check redundancy. When the World Trade Center went down, they lost all their antennas on one building and lost an awful lot of communications when that went down. So redundancy is ... a big issue. MS. STINSON indicated the airport and municipality are running on an 800-megahertz system, which is different from this one; there is a need for "connectivity" in that regard. As for "remote FAA ANICS connectivity," that is a big issue for rural Alaska. For some areas lacking connectivity now, satellite communications are probably fine, she said, but there is a need to check whether real-time performance is acceptable. MS. STINSON mentioned Anchorage-to-Juneau performance testing, but said the "big one" is interoperability with the Fairbanks public safety responders. She explained, "If Fairbanks gets a consolidated dispatch center up and the military is online, then we can try full capabilities and features, and run through scenarios of terrorism, or whatever, with ... all the players involved." Regarding an [evaluation] of "multiple vendor subscriber equipment," Ms. Stinson said there has been a lot of interest in making sure "that we don't sole-source in one way or another." She noted that the goal is to have the system up and online by the end of summer/September. Number 1484 MS. STINSON continued with the eighth page, turning attention to the bottom portion, "State Funding Summary: Project Phases And Estimated Costs." She pointed out that Major General Oates had discussed this already, then reported that the concept demonstration project [Phase 0] is estimated to cost $5 million, a rough estimate until it is sent out to bid in the next month or two. Number 1510 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI offered her understanding from Ms. Stinson's testimony that communities would be approached regarding their tolerance levels and what they would or wouldn't support. She referred to the indication that the concept demonstration project may be determined by some of the information obtained from the business practices evaluation. She asked what the state is seeking from this public interviewing process. MR. SMITH clarified that Ms. Stinson was referring to the community of users - police officers, fire responders, ambulance personnel, and so forth. He also suggested the average person would believe the interconnectivity is more sophisticated than it really is. MS. STINSON noted that people in the Fairbanks North Star Borough had recently said they have 55 radios, and if the charge is $20 per radio, per month, they cannot afford it. She explained the need to see what the tolerances are in that regard, and then determine whether the state is trying to recoup the infrastructure costs, for example, or just provide public- safety-responder communication gear and make sure maintenance can be paid for. She mentioned an exchange in which perhaps Fairbanks would maintain the site, and then Fairbanks could have its radios on there for free. Number 1663 REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI asked whether, based on these conversations with potential users, the scope may be lessened because of fiscal intolerance from various communities. MS. STINSON specified that the $5 million is money identified to do the business model and "secure initial equipment money." She added, "Based on that, perhaps the other numbers will change in Phase 1, 2, 3, and 4." Number 1713 CHAIR CHENAULT thanked the testifiers and asked that they attend a further meeting. Number 1757 MAJOR GENERAL OATES requested guidance on a possible direction or areas of interest. He offered that the basic presentation had been covered. MS. STINSON added, "We are working on a one-pager that perhaps will make it easier." CHAIR CHENAULT agreed to provide some direction. [HB 324 was held over.] ADJOURNMENT Number 1805 There being no further business before the committee, the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was adjourned at 5:16 p.m.

Document Name Date/Time Subjects