Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

02/19/2015 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS


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Audio Topic
01:04:43 PM Start
01:05:06 PM Presentation: Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
01:38:48 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Brigadier General Laurel J. Hummel,
Commissioner, Alaska Dept. of Military &
Veterans' Affairs, The Adjutant General-Alaska
National Guard: Discussion on how the Department
will work with the Legislature on the Alaska
Arctic Policy Commission's Implementation Plan
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                       February 19, 2015                                                                                        
                           1:04 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Bob Herron, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Jim Colver                                                                                                       
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Shelley Hughes                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT GENERAL DESIGNEE COLONEL LAUREL J. HUMMEL,                                                                
USA, Retired                                                                                                                    
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA)                                                                                
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided a PowerPoint presentation                                                                       
entitled, "DMVA in the Arctic," and dated 2/19/15.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL LEON M. "MIKE" BRIDGES                                                                                        
Assistant Adjutant General, Army Director                                                                                       
Alaska Army National Guard                                                                                                      
Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA)                                                                              
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the presentation                                                               
by the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL ROBERT DOEHL, USAF, Retired, Deputy Commissioner                                                                        
Office of the Commissioner/Adjutant General                                                                                     
Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA)                                                                                
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered a  question during the presentation                                                             
by the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:04:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR BOB HERRON  called the House Special  Committee on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  1:04   p.m.                                                               
Representatives LeDoux, Colver, Lynn,  and Herron were present at                                                               
the call  to order.   Representatives Tuck and  Gruenberg arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:  DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS                                                                     
   PRESENTATION:  DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS                                                               
                                                                                                                              
1:05:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
a presentation  by Commissioner/Adjutant General  Designee Laurel                                                               
J. Hummel, Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA).                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:05:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT GENERAL DESIGNEE  COLONEL LAUREL J. HUMMEL,                                                               
USA, Retired,  Department of Military &  Veterans Affairs (DMVA),                                                               
said  she would  share her  vision of  the Alaska  National Guard                                                               
(AKNG)  and DMVA  regarding  Arctic policy.    She expressed  her                                                               
belief  that Arctic  strategy,  operational  partnerships, and  a                                                               
focus  on  emergency  management  throughout  the  state  are  of                                                               
primary importance in the near-term  (slide 2).  Regarding Arctic                                                               
strategy,   she  said   the  federal   government  has   provided                                                               
definitive guiding  documents on the  needs of the Arctic  in the                                                               
National Strategy for  the Arctic Region [The  White House, dated                                                               
May 10, 2013],  and the U.S. Department of  Defense (DoD) version                                                               
of  that, the  Department of  Defense Arctic  Strategy [November,                                                               
2013].   Commissioner/Adjutant  General Designee  Hummel informed                                                               
the  committee  that  DoD's  Arctic  Strategy  is  to  promote  a                                                               
balanced approach  to improving human and  environmental security                                                               
in  the  region.   Improving  human  and  environmental  security                                                               
entails not only defense from  aggression, but also activities in                                                               
support   of    resource   extraction,    trade,   infrastructure                                                               
development,  and  commercial  and  scientific  operations.    To                                                               
execute  Arctic  strategy, there  is  a  need for  force-to-force                                                               
partnerships with  Canada, Finland, Denmark, Mongolia,  and Nepal                                                               
to  promote  security  solutions  and to  share  best  practices,                                                               
especially  regarding safe  cold weather  operational experience.                                                               
At  the  domestic  level,  Alaska needs  to  continue  its  close                                                               
partnership  with  DoD  through  the U.S.  Code  Title  10  force                                                               
structure:  Alaskan Command (ALCOM),  U.S. Army Alaska, U.S. Army                                                               
Pacific, First Army Corps, Eighth  U.S. Army, and the Seventeenth                                                               
U.S. Coast Guard.  Regionally  aligned partnerships are necessary                                                               
to ensure  relevance for  AKNG in order  to preserve  its funding                                                               
and  force  structure.   Commissioner/Adjutant  General  Designee                                                               
Hummel pointed out that AKNG  has a successful state relationship                                                               
with Mongolia  and has acted  in a mentorship role  for Mongolian                                                               
forces  in Afghanistan,  and seeks  a  similar relationship  with                                                               
Nepal  to  expand its  training  opportunities  to another  cold-                                                               
weather, high-altitude environment.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:11:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON asked about Russia.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:11:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL LEON  M.  "MIKE"  BRIDGES, Assistant  Adjutant                                                               
General,  Army  Director,  Alaska   Army  National  Guard,  DMVA,                                                               
responded  that  Russian forces  have  been  participants at  the                                                               
observer  level  in  international multi-agency  exercises  along                                                               
with Chinese military forces.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT   GENERAL  DESIGNEE   HUMMEL  returned   to                                                               
critical  partnerships  such  as   the  Department  of  Emergency                                                               
Management and Homeland Security  (DEM&HS), the Federal Emergency                                                               
Management  Agency (FEMA),  tribal authorities,  cities, boroughs                                                               
and  local emergency  centers.    The Arctic  is  changing at  an                                                               
unprecedented speed  which requires the commissioner  to maintain                                                               
close  contact with  policy advisors  and scientific  research on                                                               
how change affects  environmental and human security.   The third                                                               
part of  her vision, emergency  management, is  vitally important                                                               
because  there must  be sound  exercise doctrine  ready at  every                                                               
level,  including  communities,  so that  rural  communities  are                                                               
aware of "what the proper linkages  are."  She stressed that DMVA                                                               
must  always  follow an  organizational  culture:   adherence  to                                                               
doctrine always applies in all  circumstances; sound processes of                                                               
techniques,  tactics, and  procedures  (TTP);  customer focus  on                                                               
veterans,  AKNG members,  Alaskans, and  federal partners  (slide                                                               
2).                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:16:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK   asked   for  additional   benefits   from                                                               
operational partnerships beyond training exercises.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJTANT GENERAL DESIGNEE  HUMMEL answered that other                                                               
benefits  are   cost  sharing,   best  practices,   and  security                                                               
solutions to federal levels.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked about the  process of sharing  costs -                                                               
such as training  exercises in Mongolia -  through memorandums of                                                               
understanding, or other ways to measure the benefits to Alaska.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL BRIDGES advised that  "the big picture on that"                                                               
is the strategic  partnership international peacekeeping element.                                                               
The state  partnership program  was formed  post-Cold War  by the                                                               
State Department,  Congress, and DoD by  pairing former Communist                                                               
satellites with  National Guards  of states,  the ranks  of which                                                               
are  business  people,  government  leaders  and  employees,  and                                                               
professionals.   In this  non-threatening manner,  the principles                                                               
of democracy  and emergency  response capability  were introduced                                                               
to  these  nations.     Mongolia  and  Alaska   have  a  ten-year                                                               
partnership, and  other nations need strategic-level  partners to                                                               
prevent  or  reduce  conflict.     The  federal  government  pays                                                               
transportation  costs using  the  tenants  of military  training,                                                               
cooperation, and engagement.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON asked:                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Just so,  for clarification, if the  federal government                                                                    
     has placed  federal soldiers in the  combat zones, then                                                                    
     the  National Guard  is  excluded  from those  national                                                                    
     guard-to-national guard  relationships?   ...   When we                                                                    
     were  in  Afghanistan,  obviously  ...  that's  at  the                                                                    
     federal level.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  BRIDGES stated  that  when  mobilized with  a                                                               
federal  mission, AKNG  is part  of the  Army or  Air Force;  for                                                               
those mission  periods, a military officer  and a noncommissioned                                                               
officer liaison trainer were sent  with the Mongolian contingent,                                                               
so that  the Mongolian forces  became part of the  coalition that                                                               
served in Iraq and Afghanistan.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL ROBERT DOEHL, USAF,  Retired, Deputy Commissioner, Office                                                               
of the  Commissioner/Adjutant General,  Department of  Military &                                                               
Veterans  Affairs,  added  two   examples  of  how  international                                                               
exercises   have  benefitted   Alaskans.     Firstly,  AKNG   has                                                               
participated in exercises with Russia  on how to prosecute in the                                                               
case  of  a  hijacked  aircraft   traveling  from  one  country's                                                               
airspace to another.   Through these exercises,  procedures and a                                                               
common  understanding  have  been  developed,  reducing  risk  to                                                               
Alaskans  and other  Americans.   Secondly, international  search                                                               
and  rescue exercises  with Canadians  and  Russians ensure  that                                                               
with the vagaries  of time, distance, and weather  in the Arctic,                                                               
the closest rescue forces are  available to assist whomever is in                                                               
distress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:23:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT   GENERAL  DESIGNEE   HUMMEL  returned   to                                                               
ongoing Arctic operations,  and noted that she  will be attending                                                               
"quad staff  talks" with other  military forces in Alaska,  and a                                                               
quarterly  "general  officer/flag  officer  huddle"  with  senior                                                               
military  leaders to  discuss  important  issues and  cooperative                                                               
planning.  In  addition, DMVA has established  a partnership with                                                               
the University of  Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), and  its Department of                                                               
Homeland Security and Emergency  Management, to develop an Arctic                                                               
101 course - to be delivered  to all guardsmen - and AKNG experts                                                               
on  Arctic  operations and  Arctic  living  will serve  as  guest                                                               
lecturers.   The National Guard  Bureau has begun  to acknowledge                                                               
Alaska as  the leader of  Arctic strategy amongst all  states and                                                               
the  National  Guard and,  in  fact,  the National  Guard  Bureau                                                               
Arctic  Interest   Group  with  representation  from   New  York,                                                               
Vermont,  Maine, and  Alaska, recently  handed the  leadership of                                                               
Arctic operations over  from Maine to Alaska.   She expressed her                                                               
hope  that a  charter  on this  matter will  be  executed at  the                                                               
National Guard Bureau (slide 4).                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON asked why the charter is unsigned.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT GENERAL  DESIGNEE HUMMEL surmised  this has                                                               
been an  oversight.  She  will be  meeting with other  members of                                                               
the Arctic interest group.   In further response to Chair Herron,                                                               
she  said  she  planned  to  meet  with  members  of  the  Alaska                                                               
Congressional Delegation  during a subsequent trip  to Washington                                                               
D.C.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON  stressed the  value of informing  the Lower  48 and                                                               
Hawaii the importance of Alaska, and  of the U.S. becoming a true                                                               
Arctic nation.   He encouraged  the designee to use  her position                                                               
of advocacy when meeting with her counterparts.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:29:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT  GENERAL DESIGNEE  HUMMEL advised  that she                                                               
has an opportunity to speak  when the Adjutants General meet four                                                               
times per year.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HERRON related that the  Congressional delegation has asked                                                               
for  more  discussion  with officials  from  other  states  about                                                               
Alaska's importance.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT  DESIGNEE  HUMMEL   directed  attention  to                                                               
force  readiness training  in AKNG,  which has  emphasized Arctic                                                               
proficiencies,   especially   in   and   consequence   management                                                               
capacity.  Consequence management is  based on the belief that as                                                               
the  Arctic   environment  changes,  it  will   be  more  heavily                                                               
trafficked, populated, and thus more  prone to an emergency.  For                                                               
example, a cruise ship may run  aground.  She then noted that the                                                               
297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade in  the Army Guard will be                                                               
training  in Bethel  and  nearby villages  in  April.   Returning                                                               
attention to  the issue  of emergency  management, she  said AKNG                                                               
members are  routinely involved in  search and  rescue activities                                                               
by  the 210th,  211th, and  212th Rescue  Squadrons and  the Army                                                               
aviation regiment (slide  5).  The Division  of Homeland Security                                                               
& Management is  the hub for disaster  notification and response;                                                               
the state  emergency operations center operates  from the armory,                                                               
providing  outreach  and  training to  local  emergency  centers,                                                               
borough, and  cities (slide  6).   Finally, the  Alaska Aerospace                                                               
Corporation  is  a   partner  in  the  Arctic   strategy  and  is                                                               
administered by  DMVA; however, DMVA  does not have  control over                                                               
operations  or discussions  of  privatization.   The  corporation                                                               
presents an  opportunity to  partner with  firms to  provide high                                                               
latitude geo-synchronized satellites which  are used for enhanced                                                               
digital imaging.   Commissioner/Adjutant General  Designee Hummel                                                               
closed, saying DMVA  will engage in an  organizational culture of                                                               
mutual respect, openness, transparency, and customer focus.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:37:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK  asked whether DMVA utilized  the Alaska Land                                                               
Mobile Radio system.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:37:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER/ADJUTANT  GENERAL DESIGNEE  HUMMEL  nodded her  head                                                               
yes.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:38:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 1:38 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
DMVA in the Arctic.pdf HMLV 2/19/2015 1:00:00 PM