Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

01/19/2017 01:00 PM MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
01:05:21 PM Start
01:06:41 PM Overview: Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs
03:12:27 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Overview: Dept. of Military & Veterans' Affairs TELECONFERENCED
by
- Major General Laurel J. Hummel, Commissioner &
the Adjutant General
- Brigadier General Karen Mansfield, AK Air
National Guard
- Brigadier General Joe Streff, AK Army National
Guard
- Mike O'Hare, Div. of Homeland Security &
Emergency Management
- Brian Duffy, Div. of Administrative
Services
- Verdie Bowen, Office of Veterans Affairs
- Colonel John James, AK State Defense Force
- Bob Roses, AK Military Youth Academy
- Bob Doehl, Deputy Commissioner, AK
Aerospace Corp. & AK Naval Militia
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
   HOUSE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                  
                        January 19, 2017                                                                                        
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Chris Tuck, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
OVERVIEW: DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL LAURIE HUMMEL, Commissioner Adjutant General                                                                      
Office of the Commissioner/Adjutant General                                                                                     
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation,                                                                   
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL KAREN MANSFIELD, Commander                                                                                    
Alaska Air National Guard                                                                                                       
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation,                                                                   
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL Joe Streff, Commander                                                                                         
Alaska Army National Guard (AK ARNG)                                                                                            
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MIKE O'HARED, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (DHSEM)                                                                    
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL ALASKA JOHN JAMES, Commanding Officer                                                                                   
Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF)                                                                                               
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN, Director                                                                                                          
Office of Veteran Affairs                                                                                                       
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BOB ROSES, Director                                                                                                             
Alaska Military Youth Academy (AMYA)                                                                                            
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN DUFFY, Director                                                                                                           
Division of Administrative Services (DAS)                                                                                       
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT DOEHL, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                               
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Co-provided  a  PowerPoint  presentation,                                                             
titled "FY2018 Department Overview."                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CHRIS TUCK  called the House Special  Committee on Military                                                             
and   Veterans'   Affairs  meeting   to   order   at  1:05   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  LeDoux, Parish,  Spohnholz, Rauscher,  Reinbold,                                                               
and   Chair   Tuck  were   present   at   the  call   to   order.                                                               
Representative Saddler  arrived as  the meeting was  in progress.                                                               
Also in attendance was Representative Eastman.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
^Overview: Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs                                                                           
      Overview: Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs                                                                  
                                                                                                                              
1:06:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK announced that the only  order of business would be an                                                               
overview from the Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:06:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL  LAURIE  HUMMEL,  Commissioner  Adjutant  General,                                                               
Office  of  the   Commissioner/Adjutant  General,  Department  of                                                               
Military  &   Veterans'  Affairs   (DMVA),  began   a  PowerPoint                                                               
presentation, titled "FY2018 Department  Overview."  She referred                                                               
to slide 2, titled "Mission,"  and stated that the constitutional                                                               
and statutory mission of DMVA  is to provide military forces that                                                               
are  properly   resourced,  trained,   equipped,  and   ready  to                                                               
accomplish military missions within  the state or, when deployed,                                                               
around  the  world.     She  noted  the   department  mission  of                                                               
addressing  homeland security  and  matters  of homeland  defense                                                               
when  activated to  do so,  and she  also mentioned  DMVA is  the                                                               
state's force for emergency preparedness response and recovery.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL related that  DMVA is the primary  link for                                                               
the 74,000-plus veterans in the  state of Alaska to the federally                                                               
granted  services and  the entitlements  they have  earned.   She                                                               
added  that DMVA  has the  Alaska Military  Youth Academy  (AMYA)                                                               
ChalleNGe  Program,  which  provides  youth  with  military-style                                                               
training  and education.   She  reiterated that  these provisions                                                               
are all required by the state's constitution and statutes.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  referred  to slide  3,  titled "Alaska  GF                                                               
Budget by  Department" and showing  a pie chart  illustrating the                                                               
general  fund  budget by  department.    She pointed  out  DVMA's                                                               
portion of  the state  budget, which is  0.36 percent,  making it                                                               
the smallest department in state government.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:11:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  moved  on to  slide  4, titled  "Operating                                                               
Budget Impact,"  and offered that  DMVA brings to Alaska  a large                                                               
number  of federal  dollars.   She  called slide  4 her  "iceberg                                                               
slide,"  as it  visually  depicts the  $16.2  million of  current                                                               
fiscal  year state  dollars  spent, the  portion  of the  iceberg                                                               
"above the water,"  and the $618,569,893 coming  into Alaska from                                                               
the federal government,  the portion "under water."   The federal                                                               
funds,  she stated,  come into  Alaska either  through the  state                                                               
budget or as  direct compensation to Alaskans.   She declared the                                                               
federal dollar return on state operating dollars to be 38 to 1.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  referred to  the  first part  of slide  5,                                                               
titled "FY2018 Areas  of Major Emphasis," and said  that when she                                                               
assumed  her   position  of  adjutant  general,   she  created  a                                                               
divisional vision  with "four lines  of effort."  She  listed the                                                               
four lines  as follows:  to  develop and execute a  viable Arctic                                                               
strategy;   to  increase   capacity   for  emergency   management                                                               
throughout   the  state;   to  engage   robustly  with   Alaska's                                                               
communities;  and  to do  all  of  these things  while  achieving                                                               
federal  mission assurance  for  the U.S.  Department of  Defense                                                               
(DoD).   She  asserted that  these lines  of effort  really "come                                                               
together"  in  the  first  area  of  major  emphasis,  which  the                                                               
department refers to  as its "rural engagement  initiative."  She                                                               
went on  to say  the rural  engagement initiative  "is kind  of a                                                               
sweet spot, because  it sits at the intersection of  all of those                                                               
planks of our vision."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:13:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR   GENERAL  HUMMEL   turned  to   slide  6,   titled  "Rural                                                               
Engagement," and said  that the situation for Alaska  and for the                                                               
nation is  that there is an  increased amount of interest  in and                                                               
traffic  around the  Arctic  regions.   She  said  DoD has  major                                                               
concerns for  defense of the  nation in regard to  four countries                                                               
"intent to do us harm"  and also violent extremist organizations.                                                               
She specified that three of  those four countries, the Democratic                                                               
People's Republic of Korea (North  Korea), Russia, and China, are                                                               
right at  Alaska's door, and  foreign military operations  are of                                                               
increasing concern to Alaska as "we  may soon find ourselves on a                                                               
new kind of front."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:14:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL related that  since [the  terrorist attacks                                                               
of  September  11,  2001],  the  United  States  has  innumerable                                                               
dollars and  efforts engaged in  Iraq and Afghanistan.   She said                                                               
the operational expertise that the  U.S. military formerly had in                                                               
the Arctic has waned, as it  has concentrated in other areas, and                                                               
DoD  now  acknowledges the  need  to  "get  back to  business  of                                                               
understanding how  to survive, how  to thrive, how to  fight, and                                                               
how to defend in the Arctic."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL reminded the committee  of the catastrophic                                                               
earthquake in 1964 and the  pictures of the Alaska National Guard                                                               
coming  to the  assistance  of Anchorage  and other  Southcentral                                                               
Alaska communities.   She offered that the  Alaska National Guard                                                               
was  able to  respond  in  that way  because  on that  particular                                                               
weekend, Alaska  National Guard members  from all over  the state                                                               
had converged at Fort Richardson  for annual training.  She added                                                               
that although there  were a number of  Southcentral guardsmen who                                                               
were victims  of the  earthquake, there  were others  from around                                                               
the  state who  were  able to  assist.   She  asserted that  this                                                               
scenario  could  not exist  today,  because  the Alaska  National                                                               
Guard no longer  has robust participation from  around the state.                                                               
In fact, she  inserted, the vast majority of  active members come                                                               
from the  urban areas and  road system, mainly  from Southcentral                                                               
Alaska.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:16:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL  concluded that "all these  things have come                                                               
together in  our minds to  remind us that  we need to  put effort                                                               
into pushing  the Alaska National  Guard back out  across Alaska,                                                               
and we  need to vigorously ...  recruit and enlist and  engage in                                                               
our  rural   communities."    She  further   offered,  "That's  a                                                               
problem," because  the DoD controls  everything about  the Alaska                                                               
National Guard and all of the  54 state national guards.  It sets                                                               
the  mission  essential  task  list  determining  how  the  fore-                                                               
structure will  look in terms of  numbers and type of  units, and                                                               
it sets  the standards for  recruiting, enlisting,  and retaining                                                               
members.  She  stated that DMVA has engaged  very vigorously with                                                               
leaders in  Washington, both within  DoD and the  U.S. Department                                                               
of  the  Army.   It  has  hosted a  number  of  high ranking  and                                                               
influential  military  personnel and  taken  them  to Bethel  and                                                               
villages  in  the   Yukon  Kuskokwim  Delta  to   show  them  the                                                               
challenges  in  recruitment,  the  vastness  of  our  state,  the                                                               
sparseness of our infrastructure, and  the tyranny of our weather                                                               
and climate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:18:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL   HUMMEL  disclosed   that  Alaska   has  received                                                               
concessions  from the  federal government,  both through  waivers                                                               
and  other  additional money,  to  improve  recruitment, but  the                                                               
changes in this  area require considerable effort and  time.  She                                                               
declared that  what DMVA would like  to do in the  interim, as it                                                               
builds  conditions for  more robust  participation in  the Alaska                                                               
National Guard across the state,  is to concentrate on increasing                                                               
the  participation  and footprint  of  the  Alaska State  Defense                                                               
Force (ASDF).  The Alaska  State Defense Force, she explained, is                                                               
part of the organized state  militia, which cannot be federalized                                                               
and is not associated with DoD.   She drew the committee members'                                                               
attention to Colonel John James, present  in the room, and to his                                                               
army  service  uniform, and  made  the  point  that his  rank  is                                                               
"colonel in  parenthesis Alaska."   This means he holds  the rank                                                               
of  colonel in  the Alaska  organized militia  but does  not hold                                                               
that     rank     federally.          She     reiterated     that                                                               
ASDF  is an  organized  militia  only for  the  state of  Alaska;                                                               
therefore,  Alaska can  control it,  determine the  standards for                                                               
enlistment  and retention,  and  determine the  mission-essential                                                               
tasks.   The sole commander in  chief, she said, is  the governor                                                               
of Alaska.  She declared that  ASDF can be brought to active duty                                                               
to help in times of emergencies  but can never be deployed out of                                                               
state for homeland defense.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  maintained  that ASDF  benefits Alaska  by                                                               
building  strong,   resilient  communities,  which   is  possible                                                               
through a mission task list  that includes training in search and                                                               
rescue assistance, training in first  aid and long wave emergency                                                               
communications, and  assisting local authorities by  making door-                                                               
to-door  health and  welfare checks.    She added  that the  best                                                               
thing about ASDF is that it  is inexpensive.  It not only employs                                                               
volunteers, but  soldiers are only compensated  for exercises and                                                               
for  actual assistance  rendered when  called to  active duty  in                                                               
times of state emergency.  She  concluded by saying that DMVA has                                                               
asked  the legislature  this year  for a  small amount  of money,                                                               
$200,000, to help  the department "grow detachments"  of the ASDF                                                               
across the  state.  She mentioned  recent detachments established                                                               
-  a communications  detachment  in Bethel  and  a defense  force                                                               
detachment in Quinhagak.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:22:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL moved on  to slide 8, titled "Organizational                                                               
Chart," and addressed the two  boxes with dashed lines leading to                                                               
her  position  as shown  in  the  chart  - the  Alaska  Aerospace                                                               
Corporation (AAC) and the United  States Property & Fiscal Office                                                               
(USPFO).  She pointed out  that DMVA has administrative oversight                                                               
of  the  AAC,  which  was  moved  over  from  the  Department  of                                                               
Commerce, Community  & Economic  Development (DCCED) a  number of                                                               
years  ago.   She  then  explained  that  USPFO  is not  a  state                                                               
organization  but  the  management  and  compliance  office  that                                                               
administers the National  Guard grant coming to  Alaska from DoD.                                                               
She added  that this office works  for the Chief of  the National                                                               
Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C., not her.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:24:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER   GENERAL  KAREN   MANSFIELD,  Commander,   Alaska  Air                                                               
National Guard, continued the  PowerPoint presentation with slide                                                               
9, titled "Alaska  Air National Guard."  She  began her testimony                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     I am very honored to be  here today, but it's the 2,120                                                                    
     Alaska  Air guardsmen  and the  35 state  employees who                                                                    
     support my organization that  are really important, and                                                                    
     I'm  excited to  tell  you  about their  contributions.                                                                    
     They represent  an amazing  military and  state support                                                                    
     capacity for  Alaska.  The  federal government  pays to                                                                    
     man, train, and equip the  Alaska Air National Guard to                                                                    
     support the nation's warfighting  and defense needs, as                                                                    
     we know.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  MANSFIELD  referred to  "the  iceberg  slide"                                                               
(slide  4) and  related that  the Alaska  Air National  Guard (AK                                                               
ANG) spends  about $2.4 million  in state funds  and concurrently                                                               
executes over $197 million in  federal money for federal missions                                                               
supported.    She  added  that the  35  state  employees  perform                                                               
facility maintenance  at AK ANG  primary locations.  They  are 75                                                               
percent federally  funded, with  a 25 percent  state match.   She                                                               
asserted, "It's  a very small  vital footprint that  is necessary                                                               
for our federal mission assurance."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL MANSFIELD  went on to detail  the locations and                                                               
missions of  AK ANG.  Eielson  Air Force Base (AFB)  in Fairbanks                                                               
is the  168th Wing, which serves  as the parent wing  to both the                                                               
air refueling  squadron located at  Eielson and to the  space and                                                               
warning squadron  at Clear Air  Station in Anderson.   She stated                                                               
the  176th Wing  is  located at  Joint Base  Elmendorf-Richardson                                                               
(JBER) and  is one of the  most complex organizations in  the Air                                                               
National  Guard  nationwide.   She  relayed  that JBER  has  four                                                               
primary mission  sets and some  smaller mission sets.   She added                                                               
that "both wings also have  the standard supporting units typical                                                               
for an Air Force Wing in their mission support groups."                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:26:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  MANSFIELD cited that the  refueling mission at                                                               
the 168th  is comprised of  KC-135 Stratotankers, which  are unit                                                               
owned, maintained,  and operated  by the  Guard.   She explained,                                                               
"That's relevant because  some of the missions we do,  we are not                                                               
what you  would call  unit equipped."   She added,  "For example,                                                               
[the  168th]  is  the  parent  wing for  the  space  warning  and                                                               
surveillance squad up there as  well, that's Air Force owned, but                                                               
we  are  the  force  provider.   We  provide  the  manpower  that                                                               
actually executes the mission from the Air Guard."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER   GENERAL  MANSFIELD   paraphrased  from   her  written                                                               
testimony, which read as  follows [original punctuation provided,                                                               
with some formatting changes]:                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Several of our missions  are in transition during 2017,                                                                    
     the AK  ANG will take  ownership of the  C-17 strategic                                                                    
     (long-range) aircraft  and will convert from  a classic                                                                    
     association  to  an  active association  with  the  Air                                                                    
     Force -  our strong total force  partnership continues,                                                                    
     as  the active  duty continues  to maintain  a squadron                                                                    
     and flies  our aircraft.  Our  venerable, legacy C-130s                                                                    
     (tactical,  short-range  airlift) are  being  divested,                                                                    
     with the last aircraft leaving  the state this spring -                                                                    
     we  retain   all  the   manning  from   that  squadron,                                                                    
     correcting  some historical  deficits  in other  areas,                                                                    
     retraining and retaining our members.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:27:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  if divestiture  of the  C-130s was                                                               
part  of an  U.S.  Air Force  wide  phase out  of  C-130s or  "is                                                               
somebody getting our good, but well-worn, aircraft?"                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  MANSFIELD  responded  yes, it  was  a  senior                                                               
leader U.S.  Air Force  corporate planning  choice made  in 2014.                                                               
She stated  there was an  overall corporate draw down  of C-130s,                                                               
and the C-130s were not transferred anywhere else.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if  there were  plans to  "beef up"                                                               
the C-17 force.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL   MANSFIELD  said   that  the  action   was  a                                                               
concurrent action.   AK ANG didn't lose any  number of airframes,                                                               
because as the eight C130s were divested, it gained the eight C-                                                                
17s.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:29:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL MANSFIELD,  continuing  her testimony,  stated                                                               
that the Rescue  Coordination Center on JBER is  manned solely by                                                               
AK  ANG  guardsmen  with  the vital  mission  of  allocating  any                                                               
available state asset  to respond to an emergency.   She asserted                                                               
that the AK  ANG rescue triad is  a very visible asset,  as it is                                                               
often seen  "on the news."   The  rescue triad consists  of unit-                                                               
owned  HH-60  Pave  Hawk helicopters,  with  long-range  response                                                               
capacity  over water,  HC-130 refuelers,  and Guardian  Angel PJs                                                               
trained for high altitude extraction.   She concluded that AK ANG                                                               
is  the  resource of  last  resort  for  state response  and  can                                                               
respond  in ways  that other  assets in  the state  cannot.   She                                                               
added that  the Air Defense  Squadron represents  another mission                                                               
that is  manned totally  by AK ANG  operators, and  the equipment                                                               
there,  while owned  by  the  U.S. Air  Force,  is maintained  by                                                               
guardsmen as well.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:30:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL MANSFIELD  referred to  slide 10,  also titled                                                               
"Alaska Air  National Guard,"  and asked,  "So what's  keeping us                                                               
busy?"   In answer, she  paraphrased from her  written testimony,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In terms of  federal relevance and in  keeping with the                                                                    
     DoD's   focus  and   prioritization   on  total   force                                                                    
     integration, your  Alaska Air Guard  seamlessly deploys                                                                    
     with  active duty  to overseas  missions,  and just  as                                                                    
     notably, integrates to a high level here at home.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  2016,  the  168th  wing deployed  over  350  tanker                                                                    
     crew/maintainers to Central  and Pacific Command, where                                                                    
     they flew 301  combat hours and offloaded  2.9 mil pdns                                                                    
     of fuel  in the combat AOR.   For the 176th  wing, over                                                                    
     140  members   were  deployed  to   overseas  providing                                                                    
     airlift, airdrop and civil engineering capacity.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Your Alaska Air  Guard is also unique in  the number of                                                                    
     on-going   federal   missions  being   funded/executed,                                                                    
     essentially deployed  in-place, 24/7, 365 days  a year.                                                                    
     Our  tankers sit  alert at  Eielson in  support of  the                                                                    
     Alaska NORAD  Region, while  the Rescue  forces provide                                                                    
     alert  capability to  the 11th  Air  Force active  duty                                                                    
     fighters,  enabling their  NORAD response  and expanded                                                                    
     training capacity.   The AIR  Defense squadron  on JBER                                                                    
     is  on  duty  24/7,  365,  maintaining  continuous  air                                                                    
     surveillance  and  defense  over the  Alaskan  area  of                                                                    
     responsibility.  The 213th  Space Warning Squadron also                                                                    
     executes  the space  surveillance and  warning mission,                                                                    
     24/7, 365  - with  the Air Guard  providing 90%  of the                                                                    
     space  operators  and 100%  of  the  clear AFS  defense                                                                    
     forces for the Air Force Space mission.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:32:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  MANSFIELD referred  to  slide  11, the  third                                                               
slide  titled   "Alaska  Air   National  Guard,"   and  continued                                                               
paraphrasing from  her written testimony,  which read  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided, with some formatting changes]:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     In  support of  state  relevance, due  to our  expanded                                                                    
     federal  mission set,  the AKANG  is over  50% fulltime                                                                    
     manned, which gives us capacity  to leverage skill sets                                                                    
     and capability for state needs.   In 2016, we were able                                                                    
     to augment fire fighters for  the Moss Creek fire.  For                                                                    
     the  Veteran's  Stand  Down, the  168th  Medical  Group                                                                    
     assisted  over  500   Fairbanks  region  veterans  with                                                                    
     medical  services.    The   176th  Wing  also  provided                                                                    
     airlift for  the multiple village visits  for Operation                                                                    
     Santa Claus, bringing  goods/supplies and holiday cheer                                                                    
     to  rural regions  of the  state.   I mentioned  rescue                                                                    
     earlier,  and it  is the  most  visible, immediate  and                                                                    
     frequently requested capability -  the ANG supported 89                                                                    
     missions in 2016, with 53 saves reported.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL MANSFIELD  said that inherent in  each wing are                                                               
the  support functions,  and  she listed  them:   civil  engineer                                                               
squadrons;  security  forces;  logistics;  medical  support;  and                                                               
communications.    She added  that  these  were all  skill  sets,                                                               
personnel,  and  equipment  that   can  be  leveraged  for  state                                                               
response and support.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:33:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK asked if all 89 missions were to save lives.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  MANSFIELD clarified that the  89 missions were                                                               
flown only by AK ANG.   She offered that there were probably more                                                               
missions flown by other assets in  the state.  She confirmed that                                                               
the 89  missions flown by  AK ANG  were all rescue  missions, and                                                               
there were 53 saves.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:34:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH  asked  if  the 53  saves  represented  53                                                               
lives.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  MANSFIELD  responded that  was  correct,  but                                                               
clarified that  these individuals  were not necessarily  going to                                                               
die, just that they were recovered and, therefore, didn't die.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL MANSFIELD  referred  to slide  12, the  fourth                                                               
slide titled "Alaska Air National  Guard," as an overview of past                                                               
successes,  current   operations,  and   future  outlook.     She                                                               
declared, "Bottom  line is we're  busy, but that doesn't  mean we                                                               
don't have  our eyes on  the future.  We  want to ensure  we stay                                                               
vital and relevant  to both the nation and the  state."  She said                                                               
AK ANG  is looking for ways  to help meet the  total force tanker                                                               
requirements  in Alaska,  as there  is more  refueling need  than                                                               
there is capacity, and that need  is growing.  She stated that AK                                                               
ANG also intends  to continue to focus on  modernizing its force.                                                               
It is currently  converting the HC-130s to the new  J model.  She                                                               
said  AK ANG  continues  to innovate  in  the Arctic,  developing                                                               
rescue  capacity.     She  gave,  as  example,   the  two  Arctic                                                               
sustainment packages,  which are  airdrop equipment  bundles that                                                               
have equipment that  can sustain 25 people for up  to 72 hours in                                                               
austere Arctic  conditions.   She asserted  that even  with three                                                               
years of positive gains, recruiting  remains a focus area, and AK                                                               
ANG continues to welcome community  support and ideas to innovate                                                               
recruiting methods.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL MANSFIELD  said,  "In  closing, Mr.  Chairman,                                                               
representatives, I want to assure  you that your Alaska Air Guard                                                               
is filled  with highly  trained and motivated  airman.   They are                                                               
your neighbors,  your friends,  your co-workers,  your employees.                                                               
As members  of our community, they  go above and beyond  in their                                                               
commitment to serve the nation and the great State of Alaska."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:36:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER   asked   for   clarification   on   the                                                               
transference of airframes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  MANSFIELD,   in  response  to  Representative                                                               
Saddler,  confirmed that  the eight  C-17s are  transferring from                                                               
active to AK ANG, the C-130s  are being decommissioned, and the H                                                               
to J upgrade will occur to the tankers and remain with AK ANG.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:38:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL JOE  STREFF, Commander,  Alaska Army  National                                                               
Guard, stated  that the Alaska  Army National Guard (AK  ARNG) is                                                               
1,735 soldiers  strong.  He  said "We work  hard every day  to be                                                               
ready to execute  our federal missions anywhere in  the world but                                                               
our  state mission  any time  in Alaska."   He  relayed that  the                                                               
federal  government pays  AK  ARNG soldiers'  wages  and pays  to                                                               
train and  equip them, which,  he proclaimed, is a  great benefit                                                               
to the State  of Alaska.    He related that AK ARNG  has 42 state                                                               
employees, who are mostly engaged  in facility maintenance, and a                                                               
large  majority  of the  salaries  are  funded by  a  cooperative                                                               
agreement between the state and federal government.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF alluded to  the list of units  on slide                                                               
13, titled "Alaska  Army National Guard," and  attested that they                                                               
represented  capabilities.   He  said  AK  ARNG consists  of  "an                                                               
infantry,  aviation,  military  police, ground  missile  defense,                                                               
engineer,  medical,   and  signal  organization,  to   include  a                                                               
training center."   It  is located in  19 communities  across the                                                               
state of  Alaska and  affords Alaskans eligible  to serve  in the                                                               
military the opportunity to be citizen soldiers in AK ARNG.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF went on  to say AK  ARNG is one  of the                                                               
components of  the U.S.  Army.   Other components  include active                                                               
U.S. Army  and the  U.S. Army  Reserves.   He maintained  that AK                                                               
ARNG  is unique  in  that the  chain of  command  reports to  the                                                               
governor, instead  of the President.   The governor may  order AK                                                               
ARNG to active  duty for homeland security missions,  yet it also                                                               
must  be ready  to fight  the nation's  wars, so  it has  federal                                                               
operational relevance,  as well.   He referred to slide  14, also                                                               
titled "Alaska Army National Guard,"  and stated that AK ARNG has                                                               
deployed  on a  number of  overseas contingency  operations -  to                                                               
Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and the Balkans.   He added that it is                                                               
currently deployed  to Afghanistan  in support of  "our Mongolian                                                               
friends and  our state partners" and  also in the Horn  of Africa                                                               
conducting aviation operations.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:40:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL STREFF said that  the AK ARNG state partnership                                                               
program is with Mongolia and is in  its 15th year.  He added that                                                               
this program is regarded as  the standard for the U.S. Department                                                               
of the Army and the National  Guard Bureau.  He said that through                                                               
the partnership,  it is  helping to grow  the civil  response and                                                               
military  capabilities  of  Mongolia,   which  is  a  significant                                                               
contributor to the United Nations peace keeping missions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF relayed that  AK ARNG mans  the ground-                                                               
based missile  defense system at Fort  Greely.  He said  that the                                                               
system, established  in 2004,  is operated  by 210  guardsmen who                                                               
protect  North  America  primarily from  North  Korean  missiles,                                                               
24/7.  He asserted that  the Arctic is increasingly important and                                                               
the  United States  is working  to  develop a  strategy for  that                                                               
area.    He  said  AK  ARNG is  sponsoring  the  Arctic  Interest                                                               
Advisory Counsel,  created to  assist in  the development  of the                                                               
national Arctic strategy.  He  added that AK ARNG's first meeting                                                               
is with a  number of northern tier states and  will be in Barrow.                                                               
He further stated  that AK ARNG is aligned with  the U.S. Pacific                                                               
Command and  the U.S. Army  Pacific, and its 1st  Battalion 297th                                                               
Infantry Regiment  is part  of the  29th Infantry  Brigade Combat                                                               
Team, which  is part of the  Hawaii National Guard.   He declared                                                               
that if called upon to defend  the nation, AK ARNG is expected to                                                               
deploy with  the 29th Infantry  Brigade Combat Team.   He relayed                                                               
that AK  ARNG also maintains  a great relationship with  the U.S.                                                               
Army Alaska (USARAK),  and participates in a  number of exercises                                                               
and  training  events  with them.    This  relationship  includes                                                               
aviation  support  to  airborne operations,  cooperation  between                                                               
their schoolhouses, and Arctic skills training.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:42:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF then  referred to  slide 15,  the third                                                               
slide titled "Alaska  Army National Guard," to  highlight some of                                                               
the state  missions accomplished by AK  ARNG in Alaska.   He said                                                               
that Arctic Care  was started in 1995 as a  Navy preserve mission                                                               
and has  expanded to include  a multi-branch exercise  to provide                                                               
free medical, dental, psychological,  vision, and veterinary care                                                               
in Alaska's  underserved communities.   The Alaska  Army National                                                               
Guard  works  with the  Native  health  corporations to  identify                                                               
communities,  primarily in  western  Alaska,  and rotate  through                                                               
them.    This exercise  trains  hundreds  of service  members  in                                                               
humanitarian disaster relief.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK asked if there are  AK ARNG personnel in the fields of                                                               
vision, dental, health, and veterinary care.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL STREFF responded  that these providers could be                                                               
active  duty, reservists,  or national  guardsmen,  but they  are                                                               
specialists in  those fields  and are  credentialed.   He further                                                               
explained  that  the  active  duty  has  veterinary  services  in                                                               
Alaska,   providing  veterinarians   to  perform   rabies  shots,                                                               
spaying, neutering, and other services.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:44:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked how  many communities and individuals                                                               
were served through Arctic Care.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL STREFF responded  it was difficult to enumerate                                                               
but estimated  it to  be over  100.   He said  that in  2012, for                                                               
example,  guardsmen visited  11 villages  around the  Kobuk River                                                               
area near  Kotzebue and saw  hundreds of patients in  the various                                                               
villages, plus dogs  and cats.  With 20-plus  years of operation,                                                               
the number served is fairly extensive.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:45:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked if the  funding for Arctic  Care was                                                               
federal, that is, part of the AK ARNG operational budget.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  STREFF  responded  in  the  affirmative,  and                                                               
stressed the  opportunity it represents  for the state  of Alaska                                                               
and  the   health  corporations   to  utilize  the   services  of                                                               
reservists and  active duty personnel  who come to Alaska  at the                                                               
expense of their own units.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:46:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ asked  for clarification of veterinarian                                                               
services in regard to AK ARNG personnel.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF explained  that AK  ARNG does  not have                                                               
veterinarian services, but the active  duty and reserve personnel                                                               
have veterinary services.  He  added that the veterinary services                                                               
also monitor food coming on post, for quality management.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:47:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  STREFF  related that  Operation  Santa  Cause                                                               
represented a partnership between  the Alaska Army National Guard                                                               
and the  Alaska Air National  Guard.  He went  on to say  AK ARNG                                                               
provides support to the Veterans'  Stand Down in partnership with                                                               
50  agencies.   This  annual  program  provides medical,  dental,                                                               
vision screening, housing,  employment, and financial assistance.                                                               
He said that  AK ARNG Blackhawk helicopters  supported the McHugh                                                               
Creek fire-fighting efforts, executing  dozens of hours of flight                                                               
time  and dropping  nearly 300,000  gallons of  water to  protect                                                               
residents of Turnagain  Arm.  He mentioned that  AK ARNG aviation                                                               
and ground teams are prepared  to support the rescue coordination                                                               
center for whatever missions might require military support.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:48:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF asserted that AK  ARNG, with facilities                                                               
around Alaska,  is ready  to save Alaskan  lives in  concert with                                                               
the Alaska State Troopers, Air  National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard,                                                               
and local authorities.  He  reiterated AK ARNG brings significant                                                               
assets  to  the  Defense  Support  of  Civil  Authorities  (DSCA)                                                               
mission.    He especially  noted  the  103rd Civil  Support  Team                                                               
(CST),  which  is  ready  24/7,   365,  to  identify  and  assess                                                               
chemical,  biological,  radiological,   and  nuclear  threats  in                                                               
Alaska.    Additionally,  AK ARNG  advises  civil  authority  and                                                               
response  measures,  and  assists with  requests  for  additional                                                               
support.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:48:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF then referred  to slide 16,  the fourth                                                               
slide titled  "Alaska Army National  Guard," and stated  that "we                                                               
are fully engaged in 2017 and  look forward to 2018 and beyond to                                                               
ensure we are a relevant and ready  force."  He said AK ARNG will                                                               
expand its recruiting  in rural, Western Alaska.   He added, "Our                                                               
intent is to  grow that force so that we  can increase our Arctic                                                               
capability  and capacity,  but  also go  ahead  and increase  our                                                               
diversity in our organization."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL   STREFF  relayed   that  vital   to  national                                                               
security, AK  ARNG will maintain  its highest level  of readiness                                                               
with its  ground-based missile  defense system.   He  assured the                                                               
committee that  AK ARNG  will work  across DMVA  to add  value to                                                               
each of their  divisions and endeavors to  resolve the challenges                                                               
of  limited state  and federal  government funds  while improving                                                               
mission readiness.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:49:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  for an  update on  recruitment and                                                               
retention within AK ARNG.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL STREFF responded that  across Alaska there is a                                                               
spectrum of diverse  candidates, and the current focus  is to get                                                               
"the right  people coming  into the right  units and  making sure                                                               
it's an ethical and focused organization."                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  about  changes  in  missions  and                                                               
staffing and,  specifically, if AK  ARNG was currently  using the                                                               
Alcantra Armory in Wasilla to greater advantage.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER  GENERAL  STREFF answered  that  there  is an  evolving                                                               
stationing plan for the Alcantra facility.   He said that AK ARNG                                                               
has  asked the  federal  government, through  the National  Guard                                                               
Bureau,  to fund  improvements.   He  related  that the  Alcantra                                                               
Armory houses  portions of the  infantry battalion,  the Military                                                               
Police  Company,  and  Alaska   State  Defense  Force  residents;                                                               
therefore,  good  use  is  being   made  of  the  facility.    He                                                               
acknowledged  the  potential  of  recruitment  in  the  Matanuska                                                               
Valley for decades to come.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:51:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  added  that "the  refurbishment  of a  new                                                               
Alcantra  Armory was  number one"  on her  National Guard  Bureau                                                               
"wish list" for military construction this past year.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:53:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MIKE O'HARE, Director, Division  of Homeland Security & Emergency                                                               
Management, Department  of Military  & Veterans'  Affairs (DMVA),                                                               
referred to  slide 17,  titled "Division  of Homeland  Security &                                                               
Emergency  Management,"  and  stated  that  the  mission  of  the                                                               
Division of  Homeland Security & Emergency  Management (DHSEM) is                                                               
to  foster a  prepared  and resilient  state  of Alaska,  keeping                                                               
Alaskans  safe  from all  hazards,  whether  they be  natural  or                                                               
manmade.  He  applauded the 62 workers under him.   He reiterated                                                               
that the  mission is  to "save  lives, protect  property, prevent                                                               
suffering"  from  those hazards.    He  said that  the  strategic                                                               
direction of  the division  is to:   work  collaboratively within                                                               
the DMVA  integrated team; coordinate  resources with  the Alaska                                                               
Air National  Guard, the Alaska  Army National Guard,  the Alaska                                                               
State Defense Force,  and the U.S. Coast Guard;  and plan, train,                                                               
and exercise  to enable  all communities in  Alaska to  be better                                                               
prepared and more resilient to take care of their citizens.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:54:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O'HARE summarized  the "Strategic  Direction"  on slide  18,                                                               
also   titled  "Division   of  Homeland   Security  &   Emergency                                                               
Management," by saying  DHSEM constantly strives to  be better in                                                               
coordinating  and   improving  relationships  with  all   of  its                                                               
partners and  all of its  customers to  accomplish the task.   He                                                               
offered that  DHSEM tailors  its approach  to meet  a community's                                                               
needs and  to leverage the strength  and resources of all  of its                                                               
partners,  whether   local,  state,  tribal,  federal,   or  non-                                                               
governmental  faith-based organizations.   He  offered a  binder,                                                               
titled "Small Community Emergency  Response Plans," for committee                                                               
members to  pass around and review.   He said that  typically, in                                                               
the past,  response plans have  been neglected.  He  offered that                                                               
the  current response  plans consist  of easy-to-use  flip charts                                                               
that "anybody,  under any circumstance,  can grab this  thing and                                                               
say, we have a  fire, we have a flood, we  have ice breakup time.                                                               
Who do I call?  What do I  do?  What's the checklist to think of?                                                               
What are  the thought  processes by which  I should  be executing                                                               
first?   Who do I  call?"  He stated  that the phone  numbers are                                                               
all in  the plans.   He related that  his staff are  working with                                                               
the communities  to put together  these small  community response                                                               
plans, referred to  as SCERPs.  He relayed a  success story about                                                               
category  2 and  3 hurricanes  on  the west  coast affecting  St.                                                               
Lawrence  Island.     He  mentioned  he  received   a  call  from                                                               
Shaktoolik,   one  of   the   affected  communities,   expressing                                                               
appreciation  for   the  SCERP,  which  helped   them  be  better                                                               
organized,  be better  prepared, know  what  to do,  and be  more                                                               
confident  and resilient.   He  declared, "This  is the  essence,                                                               
this is  the foundation of  community resilience with  regards to                                                               
disaster preparedness and planning that  we're striving for."  He                                                               
referred  to the  "really cool"  gear  shown on  slide 18,  which                                                               
consists of tactical emergency communication  devices that can be                                                               
located quickly  anywhere in Alaska to  establish communications,                                                               
a mobile emergency operations center  that can travel anywhere on                                                               
the road system  and establish communications if  needed, and the                                                               
earthquake simulator for outreach to communities.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O'HARE  referred  to  slide   19,  the  third  slide  titled                                                               
"Division  of  Homeland  Security  &  Emergency  Management,"  to                                                               
describe the  organizational structure of DHSEM.   "Planning" and                                                               
"Preparedness," on  the left side  of the chart,  represent staff                                                               
who engage with all Alaskan  communities to do community planning                                                               
and mitigation.  Mitigation  includes modification projects, such                                                               
as home  elevation or  relocation, which  help residents  be less                                                               
vulnerable to  threats.  Planning includes  assisting communities                                                               
with disaster planning and preparing  their SCERPs.  He mentioned                                                               
the  resiliency  team,  which coordinates  "all  of  the  various                                                               
entities that could bring  resources, planning, understandings of                                                               
the  community.   You  can't  plan  until you  really  understand                                                               
what's  going on  out  there."   He concluded,  "This  is how  we                                                               
engage  with   the  community.     This  is  how  we   engage  in                                                               
collaborative fashion."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.    O'HARE   referred    to   "State    Emergency   Operations                                                               
Center/Response" on  the chart  on slide  19, and  mentioned that                                                               
this center is  located in the basement of  Joint Base Elmendorf-                                                               
Richardson   (JBER)  and   is  the   center  point   of  response                                                               
coordination      for     "anything      that     happens      in                                                               
Alaska."   He declared that  there were  seats at the  center for                                                               
all  of DHSEM's  partners -  military, U.S.  Coast Guard,  Alaska                                                               
Army  National Guard,  Alaska Air  National  Guard, Alaska  State                                                               
Defense  Force, appropriate  state  agencies,  and volunteer  and                                                               
faith-based  organizations  -  to  come together  with  the  full                                                               
authority of  their agency  and with their  resources to  bring a                                                               
quick response to communities in peril.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE  then referred  to "Disaster  Assistance," on  the far                                                               
right  of  the  organizational  chart, and  explained  that  this                                                               
represents  individuals   who  do  the  long-term   care  in  the                                                               
community  recovery  programs,  who have  intimate  knowledge  of                                                               
community  dynamics, and  who have  relationships with  community                                                               
residents.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:00:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE turned to slide  20, the fourth slide titled "Division                                                               
of  Homeland Security  & Emergency  Management," to  describe the                                                               
successes,  operations,  and  outlooks  of  the  division.    For                                                               
successes,  he mentioned  the  Fall  Preparedness Conference,  in                                                               
which DHSEM invites participants  from all Alaskan communities to                                                               
convene  in  Anchorage  to   engage  in  preparedness,  outreach,                                                               
training, and table top exercises.   The purpose is for attendees                                                               
to  focus  on  improving  themselves in  their  response  to  the                                                               
community.  He added that in  the past, there have been two large                                                               
preparedness conferences,  but the plan  now is to have  just one                                                               
per year and  move conference resources and efforts  to the rural                                                               
"hub" communities for regional focus.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE discussed  "FY2017 Operations" on slide  20, by saying                                                               
DHSEM continually  conducts response operations.   The operations                                                               
include responses for federal and  state declarations of disaster                                                               
and  responses to  communities to  identify  and address  issues,                                                               
coordinate resources,  and avert  disasters.   He offered  that a                                                               
major  success of  the division  is the  Community and  Emergency                                                               
Response Team (CERT) training that  Outreach Chief Michelle Torez                                                               
gives  to Military  Youth Academy  cadets in  effective community                                                               
planning and  preparedness for response  to disasters.   He added                                                               
that  Alaska  National Guard  members  and  Alaska State  Defense                                                               
Force members  will be incorporated  into the training  to expose                                                               
cadets  to  recruitment  opportunities  in those  agencies.    He                                                               
asserted  this   effort  to  be  the   foundation  for  community                                                               
resilience as it builds new leadership for emergency management.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:04:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ shared  her  experience  with Heads  Up                                                               
Disaster Response through  her work with the  Salvation Army, and                                                               
reiterated that  the SCERP is  a practical, easy-to-use  tool for                                                               
planning and organizing  disaster response.  She added  that as a                                                               
member of  a local volunteer  organization, she felt  welcome "at                                                               
the   table,"  and   DHSEM   was   remarkably  professional   and                                                               
collaborative.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:05:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked if the  scope of the  Alaska Shield                                                               
exercise  would be  the  same  as last  year  and  whom it  would                                                               
involve, and  he added that  he would like  to be involved  as an                                                               
observer.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O'HARE responded  that Alaska  Shield is  the state's  large                                                               
field exercise for a particular threat  focus.  The next date for                                                               
this exercise will  be in 2019.   He said it would  be a homeland                                                               
security-focused event  to involve  many communities  and regions                                                               
in Alaska.  He invited all committee members to attend.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O'HARE turned  the committee's  attention back  to slide  7,                                                               
titled "Village  Relocation," to discuss village  relocation as a                                                               
mitigation project.  He declared  that investments to communities                                                               
"to harden  them to meet  the threats"  is a vital  investment to                                                               
community  resilience.    He  said that  it  is  the  community's                                                               
decision whether to stay in place  or relocate.  If it chooses to                                                               
stay in place, then DHSEM  must "harden", elevate, and/or look at                                                               
other mitigation opportunities.   He mentioned that  there was no                                                               
specific agency responsible for  village relocation.  He asserted                                                               
that Sally Russell Cox (local  government specialist IV, Division                                                               
of  Community and  Regional Affairs  (DCRA), DCCED),  coordinates                                                               
with communities  that have identified  that they  are threatened                                                               
and potentially want to look at  relocation.  Ms. Cox, along with                                                               
DCRA and  DCCED, work with  the villages to understand  what they                                                               
want to do  and what their plans are, and  then they mobilize the                                                               
resources  of  the various  agencies  that  "can help  move  this                                                               
along."  He added  that it was hugely a team  effort.  He offered                                                               
that DHSEM's  role in DMVA is  as a conduit to  Federal Emergency                                                               
Management  Agency (FEMA)  mitigation resources.   He  added that                                                               
for every  disaster for  which the state  has a  federal disaster                                                               
declaration, the  state receives  money for  statewide mitigation                                                               
projects.   He related that  relocation of the Village  of Newtok                                                               
to Mertarvik  will have  a huge cost  and take a  long time.   He                                                               
added that,  to date, there  had been  ten years of  planning for                                                               
the  relocation,  and  even  though   there  has  been  some  new                                                               
development at the  new location of Mertarvik,  DHSEM is "nowhere                                                               
near  getting those  houses  built  and moved  over  there."   He                                                               
mentioned that one  of the reasons for the slow  progress is that                                                               
there is  no one agency with  the $100-150 million to  relocate a                                                               
community.   He offered that  even with the resources  that DHSEM                                                               
partners  bring   to  the  table,   these  resources   come  with                                                               
restraints  and reporting  requirements.   He asserted  there are                                                               
"cascading effects."   He explained, "If we move  so many houses,                                                               
could  we  build  the  school  now in  the  new  location?"    He                                                               
emphasized the  complexity of such  a mitigation  opportunity and                                                               
stated that collaboration was key.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:10:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  if   DoD  has  much  interest  in                                                               
continuing to plan for similar  relocations in light of the drawn                                                               
out nature of the Newtok response and lack of final resolution.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE responded that DMVA,  as Alaska's key point of contact                                                               
with  DoD, uses  projects such  as  the relocation  of Newtok  as                                                               
Innovative  Readiness Training  (IRT)  opportunities, and  Alaska                                                               
can make  a bid to the  National Guard Bureau for  the project as                                                               
an engineering  training opportunity for  the military.   He said                                                               
that the  National Guard Bureau's  list of projects is  long, and                                                               
it is difficult to get a project on that list.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL opined  that she did  not believe  that the                                                               
outcome of  that relocation project  is on DoD's scope,  so would                                                               
not jeopardize future IRT bids.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:12:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD asked  for  the number  of residents  in                                                               
Newtok.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. O'HARE responded 600-700 residents.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD noted  the state's  $3 billion  deficit,                                                               
the state's huge expenses, and  the $20 trillion federal deficit,                                                               
and she asked  what Newtok would have done hundreds  of years ago                                                               
"without all these  bureaucrats, all these agencies  ... all over                                                               
the  place ...."    She additionally  asked:  "Number two,  whose                                                               
responsibility is  it to move?   And number three, is  it because                                                               
all these  government buildings and  dollars that have  gone into                                                               
this community,  is that  what needs  to be  moved?"   She opined                                                               
that the  community's residents  would have  been more  mobile in                                                               
the past, and she asked about  the dynamics of the move in regard                                                               
to government infrastructure versus personal housing.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:13:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O'HARE responded  that  the  issues Representative  Reinbold                                                               
brought  up  about  government's   roles  and  responsibility  in                                                               
assisting the  involved communities  is an ongoing  discussion at                                                               
DHSEM with each community at peril.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:14:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  TUCK asked  what gives  responsibility  for relocation  of                                                               
communities to DMVA.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  O'HARE responded  that  the responsibility  of  DMVA in  the                                                               
endeavor  mentioned is  "as  a  small piece  of  this puzzle"  in                                                               
accessing some mitigation resources.   He continued that "without                                                               
having  those pieces  in  the  partnership to  try  and meet  the                                                               
whole, we're not going to get anywhere."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR TUCK  asked, "This  is mitigation  between the  village and                                                               
the State of Alaska or the village and the federal government?"                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE responded  that all of them -  federal, state, tribal,                                                               
and  Denali  Commission  looking  for  federal  resources  -  are                                                               
involved to meet that mission.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:15:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  if there  is an  interagency avian                                                               
bird  flu team  up and  operating, and  if that  is considered  a                                                               
continuing threat.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE answered that DHSEM  works closely with the Department                                                               
of  Health  and  Social  Services  (DHSS)  and  with  Andy  Jones                                                               
(Section Chief,  Emergency Programs:   Health  Emergency Response                                                               
Operations,  EMS  and  Trauma)  and his  staff,  and  they  share                                                               
information   regularly   on   threats,  patterns,   and   trends                                                               
nationwide and in  Alaska.  He confirmed that avian  bird flu was                                                               
absolutely an ongoing threat.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:16:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   REINBOLD  offered   her  appreciation   for  the                                                               
importance of homeland security and  urged DMVA to "keep your eye                                                               
on the biggest  threat."  She cited the threats  mentioned at the                                                               
beginning  of the  presentation  - those  involving North  Korea,                                                               
China, Russia, and  infiltration of radical groups  - and offered                                                               
that they may have the biggest impact on most Alaskans.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. O'HARE replied  he couldn't agree more.  He  added that "this                                                               
is a moving  process and we have  to be ... lucky  all the time."                                                               
He contended  that DMVA looks  at all  of the moving  threats and                                                               
has relationships  with all  of its partners  - DoD,  the federal                                                               
government,   Federal   Bureau   of  Investigation   (FBI),   law                                                               
enforcement,  state troopers,  and  Department  of Public  Safety                                                               
(DPS).  He also mentioned  the importance of the DPS intelligence                                                               
information  sharing  center,   called  the  Intelligence  Fusion                                                               
Center,  and  of  having  a  homeland  security  advisor  to  the                                                               
governor, who is the commissioner of  DPS.  He asserted that DMVA                                                               
responds to  changing patterns and  trends by  ensuring community                                                               
plans are in place that will help them respond to threats.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:17:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL  added that there are  Alaska National Guard                                                               
personnel, within the Intelligence  Fusion Center, who are active                                                               
in counter  drug operations in  partnership with the FBI  and the                                                               
drug enforcement agency.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:17:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER asked about the  nature of the upgrade to                                                               
Alcantra Armory.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  responded that  it would  be a  new armory                                                               
building.  She confirmed this project  as being number one on her                                                               
military construction merit list.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
BRIGADIER GENERAL  STREFF added  the upgrade project  at Alcantra                                                               
includes  not only  a new  building but  fencing, scheduled  road                                                               
improvements,  and other  infrastructure improvements.   He  said                                                               
that DMVA  would find out  this year  if the project  is selected                                                               
and, if so, construction would start sometime after 2020.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:20:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  ALASKA  JOHN  JAMES, Commanding  Officer,  Alaska  State                                                               
Defense  Force,  Department  of   Military  &  Veterans'  Affairs                                                               
(DMVA),  referred  to  slide 21,  titled  "Alaska  State  Defense                                                               
Force," and  said that  the mission of  the Alaska  State Defense                                                               
Force  (ASDF)  is  to  provide  a  trained  and  organized  state                                                               
military  reserve  supportive  of  homeland  security  and  civil                                                               
support operations.  He related that  ASDF has 76 soldiers and is                                                               
growing across  the state.   He added  that it is  organized into                                                               
the  Brigade  Headquarters and  a  Forward  Support Battalion  at                                                               
Alcantra  Armory.   He  further stated  that:   the  Headquarters                                                               
Company  provides command  and control;  the MP  Company provides                                                               
liaison officers  at emergency operation centers  in communities;                                                               
an engineer  company is  able to  assess buildings,  bridges, and                                                               
community structures post event; and  a signal company is capable                                                               
of  providing  communities  a  secondary  or  tertiary  means  of                                                               
communication.    He  said ASDF  has  detachments  in  Fairbanks,                                                               
Valdez,  and Juneau,  and is  establishing signal  detachments in                                                               
Kodiak and  possibly Cordova and Sitka.   He went on  to say that                                                               
the last state defense force  is the scout battalion headquarters                                                               
located  in  Bethel,  and  detachments  will  be  established  at                                                               
Quinhagak, Kipnuk, Qwethluk, and Hooper  Bay.  Analyses will also                                                               
be conducted  in the communities  of Nome, Kotzebue,  and Barrow,                                                               
for  possible   establishment  of  scout  detachments   in  those                                                               
communities.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL  JAMES turned  to  slide 22,  also  titled "Alaska  State                                                               
Defense Force," and went on to  say that soldiers are trained in:                                                               
first  aid; instant  command systems;  search  and rescue;  oral,                                                               
written,  and   electronic  communications;   tobacco  cessation;                                                               
environmental  stewardship;  leadership  skills; and  many  other                                                               
subjects.    The  Alaska  State  Defense  Force  is  designed  to                                                               
encourage  and enable  state organized  militia service  in rural                                                               
communities.   He mentioned that  the roots of the  state militia                                                               
were  in the  Alaska Territorial  Guard, and  villages and  small                                                               
towns were  able to  participate over  the years.   He  said that                                                               
ASDF wants to renew and  expand this proposition to increase both                                                               
capacity and  resiliency across the  state and to make  the state                                                               
defense force and National Guard  stronger and more reflective of                                                               
the people it serves.  He  reiterated ASDF's mission to serve the                                                               
community, increase  emergency management capacity,  and continue                                                               
the tradition of military service in Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:22:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked about the  source of funds  used to                                                               
study the potential for ASDF detachments across the state.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL JAMES replied  that the majority comes from  DMVA, but he                                                               
is  looking  for other  sources,  such  as 501(c)3s  and  private                                                               
donations.   He assured  the representatives that  since it  is a                                                               
volunteer organization, the expense is low.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL clarified  that there is  no line  item for                                                               
ASDF  operations in  the DMVA  budget, but  through efficiencies,                                                               
DMVA was  able to  distribute $30,000 to  ASDF last  year, which,                                                               
she added, was twice the amount  given in any previous year.  She                                                               
said  that in  order to  scout  for, resource,  equip, and  train                                                               
recruits,  the  governor  has  approved a  small  amount  in  his                                                               
budget, $200,000,  as seed money  to "grow"  the ASDF as  a state                                                               
militia and  to create conditions for  increased recruitment into                                                               
the Alaska National Guard, reserves,  and active component forces                                                               
across the state.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:25:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER commented  that  last year's  recommended                                                               
increase  for DMVA  funds  was rejected,  and  he speculated  the                                                               
fundamental state fiscal situation to be similar.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL  HUMMEL offered  that  DMVA  has scaled  back  its                                                               
request  for this  year and  has started  pursuing other  funding                                                               
opportunities.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:25:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PARISH   asked  if  Southeast  Alaska   has  been                                                               
considered for ASDF expansion.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
COLONEL JAMES responded yes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:26:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
VERDIE BOWEN, Director, Office of  Veteran Affairs, Department of                                                               
Military  &  Veterans'  Affairs (DMVA),  referred  to  slide  23,                                                               
titled "Office of Veterans Affairs,"  and stated that the mission                                                               
of the  Office of Veterans  Affairs (VA)  is to advocate  for the                                                               
Alaska  veterans,  their  families,  and  transitioning  military                                                               
members to receive  all of the benefits they  have earned through                                                               
their  service to  the country.    He declared  that the  biggest                                                               
issue  regarding  this  mission  is the  misconception  that  all                                                               
benefits  can be  bestowed at  once, when,  in fact,  each member                                                               
needs to  be interviewed individually  and benefits  are assigned                                                               
according to  a number  of variables:   when  they served  in the                                                               
military;  where   they  served;  length  of   time  of  service;                                                               
condition  of service  when released;  and disabilities  incurred                                                               
during service.   He went on to  say the state of  Alaska has the                                                               
largest number per capita of veterans  in the nation.  There is a                                                               
staff  of  four state  employees  and  17 grant  funded  Veterans                                                               
Service Officers (VSO) providing  services to veterans throughout                                                               
the  state.   He  said  that last  year  62,000 veterans,  family                                                               
members,  and transitioning  military  members were  served.   He                                                               
mentioned that for the VSOs,  that number averages eight per day,                                                               
seven days  a week.   He said that VSOs  and his staff  provide a                                                               
great service to  the veterans and their families  by returning a                                                               
great deal  of money to  veterans.   He asserted that  during the                                                               
past  year, $105  million  was returned  to  veterans and  family                                                               
members, the largest  single check being $574,000.   He explained                                                               
that  some  of  these  payments  are  back  payments  for  issues                                                               
occurring a  long time ago.   He  added that these  payments come                                                               
into Alaska  and are spent in  the communities.  He  also offered                                                               
that about 19,000 Alaskan veterans  are receiving a total of $247                                                               
million per year in disability  compensation and pensions through                                                               
the VA.   He added  that these disabilities were  incurred during                                                               
service.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:30:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN  turned to  slide 24, also  titled "Office  of Veterans                                                               
Affairs,"  and  said  that  the   VA  provides  $154  million  in                                                               
healthcare for  the veterans  in Alaska.   He attested  that $134                                                               
million  of the  $254  million is  through  contracts with  local                                                               
healthcare providers,  which is unique  to Alaska.   He explained                                                               
that since there  are only five VA funded  health care facilities                                                               
in  Alaska, the  rest of  the healthcare  has to  be provided  at                                                               
local facilities,  including healthcare through an  Alaska Native                                                               
sharing agreement.   He went on to say that  the Alaska VA helped                                                               
veterans  obtain  certificates  of eligibility  to  receive  $1.1                                                               
billion in  home loans,  through VA home  guarantees.   He stated                                                               
that the  Alaska VA looks "outside  of our office" to  find other                                                               
funds to  help veterans.   It  is the third  year for  the Highly                                                               
Rural  Transportation  grant, which  has  been  received in  five                                                               
borough areas, $50,000  per borough area, and  it helps transport                                                               
veterans to healthcare  sites or to medication  dispensaries.  He                                                               
mentioned that two  weeks ago the Alaska VA signed  a contract to                                                               
bring in a  new program called the State  Approving Agency, which                                                               
will  help bring  in more  job  programs and  will evaluate  more                                                               
institutions  of higher  learning -  both under  the GI  bill and                                                               
post  9/11 [the  terrorist attacks  of September  11, 2001].   He                                                               
offered that program allows him to  cover the wages of one of his                                                               
state employees under a federal grant.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:32:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOWEN related,  "Nothing is  really straight  forward within                                                               
the VA system and, especially  in the federal government, nothing                                                               
is  really  straight  forward."     He  relayed  a  story  of  an                                                               
individual with  asthma, who was a  pilot.  He said  that in this                                                               
individual's  records   was  "RAD,"  which  is   reactive  airway                                                               
disease, which  is not  a compensable disability.   He  said that                                                               
his staff had  to obtain a doctor's statement  for the individual                                                               
explaining  that RAD  was  asthma.   The result  was  all of  the                                                               
medications  for that  person are  now covered.   This,  he said,                                                               
illustrates  the importance  of the  assistance the  VA provides.                                                               
In addition,  he cited  a VA  study that  demonstrated that  if a                                                               
veteran applies for  benefits on his/her own,  the average annual                                                               
income,  through compensation,  is  about  $3,500, compared  with                                                               
$11,000 if he/she utilizes a VA staff person.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:33:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN  mentioned the new  Veterans Information  System (VIS),                                                               
which now  has information on  18,000 veterans.  He  offered that                                                               
through this  system, the  VA is  now able  to send  postcards to                                                               
veterans  in outreach  communities prior  to visiting.   He  said                                                               
that  his  office  will  continue   partnerships  with  the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),  which assists with outreach                                                               
efforts by sending a team to  accompany Alaska VA staff.  He said                                                               
the  biggest challenge  for the  Alaska  VA is  bridging the  gap                                                               
between communities  on the road  system and the  161 communities                                                               
off the road system with regard to access to care and education.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:35:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN mentioned that travel by  the VA has been restricted at                                                               
times; therefore,  Alaska VA staff visit  the communities without                                                               
the VA  support team.   He said  that through the  Tribal Veteran                                                               
Representative Program,  local volunteers are trained  and number                                                               
over 300 throughout  the state.  He opined  that these volunteers                                                               
are of great assistance during the outreach visits.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:36:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN offered  that with the upcoming  transitions within the                                                               
VA,  Alaska  VA  is  monitoring the  Alaska  Native  health  care                                                               
sharing agreements between  the 27 Native entities and  the VA to                                                               
ensure they "stay  in place."  There are two  years remaining for                                                               
the health care sharing agreement  program, giving Alaska VA time                                                               
to educate the new VA leadership about them.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:37:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  how long  the VSO  grants were  in                                                               
place and if they were "pretty solid."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BOWEN  responded  they  are  pretty  solid  and  are  funded                                                               
annually.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:37:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  prefaced his question by  noting the large                                                               
differential, $6,500, in the benefit  amount received by veterans                                                               
who received assistance  through the Alaska VA  office as opposed                                                               
to "going it alone."  He  asked if a veterans could independently                                                               
utilize  the VIS  to get  an  approximation of  the benefits  for                                                               
which they qualify.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN responded, "In reality, the  issue we run into, when it                                                               
comes to individual  benefits, we have to bring them  in one at a                                                               
time."   He went on to  say the Health Insurance  Portability and                                                               
Accountability Act  (HIPAA) would  prevent storing that  level of                                                               
information in the software application.   He said name, address,                                                               
email  address,  time of  service  are  entered into  VIS,  which                                                               
allows  the Alaska  VA  to target  its  search.   He  gave as  an                                                               
example the contaminated water system  at Camp Lejeune, from 1953                                                               
to  1988,  and  attested   VIS  facilitates  identifying  service                                                               
members impacted by this contamination.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked if there  was a benefit calculator in                                                               
VIS that a veteran could use independently.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BOWEN  answered no.  Veterans  need to file for  benefits; it                                                               
is a long process; and it  may involve legal issues.  He affirmed                                                               
that the results of application were generally successful.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:40:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB ROSES,  Director, Alaska  Military Youth  Academy, Department                                                               
of Military &  Veterans' Affairs (DMVA), emphasized  the level of                                                               
support  of DMVA  for the  Alaska Military  Youth Academy  (AMYA)                                                               
program, contributing to  its success.  He referred  to slide 25,                                                               
titled "Alaska Military  Youth Academy," and stated  that AMYA is                                                               
a program designed  for 16- to 18-year-old youth who  are at risk                                                               
- those  who have dropped out  of high school or  are in jeopardy                                                               
of not  being able to  complete their secondary education  by the                                                               
time they  are 19 years old.   The Alaska Military  Youth Academy                                                               
teaches them  eight basic core  components:   academics, physical                                                               
fitness,   leadership/followership,    responsible   citizenship,                                                               
service  to community,  health and  hygiene, life  coping skills,                                                               
and job skills.   All eight core components  must be successfully                                                               
completed for  a cadet to  complete the  program.  He  added that                                                               
the  program  consists of  22  1/2  weeks of  residential  status                                                               
followed by 12 months of  post-residential status.  During the 12                                                               
months, cadets  report back  monthly "to let  us know  if they're                                                               
working, if so where.  Have  they joined the military?  Have they                                                               
gone  back to  their local  high school  to actually  get a  high                                                               
school diploma,  as opposed to a  [General Education Development]                                                               
(GED)?"  He relayed that if they  are not engaged in any of these                                                               
activities, they  are required to  perform 30 hours  of community                                                               
service and provide documentation of service hours to AMYA.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:44:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSES, in  response to Representative Tuck,  described the 22                                                               
1/2 weeks  of residential status:   a 5:00 a.m.  rising; physical                                                               
training; 90-minute  classes Monday through Thursday;  study hall                                                               
and community  service two  days per week;  and tutoring.   Group                                                               
leaders  are assigned  to  three  or four  cadets  to mentor  and                                                               
monitor.  During  the 12 months of  post-residential status, they                                                               
are  required  to   check  in  with  AMYA   monthly  and  provide                                                               
documentation  of their  activity,  which could  be  a pay  stub,                                                               
school  record, military  record, or  documentation of  community                                                               
service.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK  asked if  there  were  consequences if  the                                                               
cadet loses contact with AMYA.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSES responded that unfortunately,  there are not.  He cited                                                               
the incentives provided to the  cadet for filling out the monthly                                                               
report -  $100 per  month for  the first six  months and  $50 per                                                               
month for the last six months.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:46:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH  asked about the consequences  of missing a                                                               
month of reporting.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSES replied, "It's an  all-or-nothing game."  He added that                                                               
AMYA  seeks to  teach the  cadets personal  responsibility, along                                                               
with self-respect, self-discipline, and self-worth.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:47:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PARISH asked for the success rate of the program.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROSES responded  that about 55-60 percent  cadets will follow                                                               
through with all 12 months of reporting.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  remarked that "being  part of a  team and                                                               
being  responsible  for  somebody  other  than  themselves  is  a                                                               
powerful motivator."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROSES  added   that  the  leadership/followership  component                                                               
addresses that concept.  He  further stated that some 18-year-old                                                               
students  have come  to AMYA  having never  earned a  single high                                                               
school credit.   He said, "How do you get  them through a 22-week                                                               
program where they  can earn their GED?   How do you  get them to                                                               
be a  responsible leader?   Well, you don't  do it by  not giving                                                               
them  the  opportunity.   You  do  it  by  putting them  in  that                                                               
position  and holding  them to  a level  of accountability  where                                                               
they  measure up,  and, if  they don't  qualify for  some reason,                                                               
they get removed as a squad  leader.  Because they didn't do what                                                               
they're supposed  to doesn't mean they  won't try it again."   He                                                               
said  all  cadets   get  an  opportunity  to   participate  in  a                                                               
leadership  position:   it  is  not  only  an opportunity  but  a                                                               
requirement of the program.  He  added that AMYA is an accredited                                                               
high  school and  can issue  a high  school diploma.   He  said a                                                               
student  can earn  7 1/2  high  school credits  through the  AMYA                                                               
curriculum,   which  is   aligned  with   the  state   curriculum                                                               
standards.   He offered that each  year AMYA awards 8  to 15 high                                                               
school  diplomas and  75 to  85 GEDs.   He  added that  AMYA does                                                               
"credit  recovery," which  means  a student  may  return to  high                                                               
school with a  little over a year's worth of  high school credits                                                               
earned in the 22 1/2 weeks at AMYA.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  affirmed that he  took the tour  of AMYA                                                               
and was very impressed.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ asked if  students from rural Alaska get                                                               
transportation support to attend AMYA.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROSES confirmed  AMYA pays  for transportation  to and  from                                                               
AMYA for  any students in outlying  areas.  He added  that if the                                                               
student drops out  of the program in the first  month and a half,                                                               
AMYA encourages  the parents to  pay for the  transportation, but                                                               
if the  family has  no means,  then AMYA will  pay.   Many cadets                                                               
from rural  areas experience  "culture shock,"  and they  are the                                                               
hardest to retain  in the program.  He mentioned  that years ago,                                                               
through  a  cooperative  agreement  with the  Cook  Inlet  Tribal                                                               
Council, a  counselor was provided  to the AMYA campus  for these                                                               
students,  but  the  funds  for  that  service  have  long  since                                                               
disappeared.  He emphasized a need for that type of counseling.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:54:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  expressed her appreciation for  the work                                                               
of DMVA and its "amazing team."   She mentioned the importance of                                                               
AMYA's work  in teaching life  skills to high-risk youth  and the                                                               
benefits of this work to society.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:55:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  if  the cadets  are  covered  by                                                               
health insurance.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROSES replied  yes.   He said  that AMYA  strives to  ensure                                                               
every cadet  is insured, either  through their  families, through                                                               
Denali Kid  Care, or through  another agency.   He added  that no                                                               
cadet  goes  without medical  care;  AMYA  has a  medical  staff,                                                               
including a nurse  practitioner and a registered nurse.   If AMYA                                                               
has to  transport a  cadet off campus  for services,  the parents                                                               
are contacted, but also AMYA has  medical power of attorney.  If,                                                               
in  the rare  instance, services  are  not covered  in some  way,                                                               
either by insurance or the provider, AMYA will cover the cost.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:57:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN  DUFFY,  Director,  Division  of  Administrative  Services,                                                               
Department of Military  & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA),  gave a brief                                                               
summary  of his  background.   He  referred to  slide 27,  titled                                                               
"Division of Administrative  Services," and said that  all of the                                                               
programs and services described  by the presenters require money,                                                               
manpower,  and material.   He  asserted that  the mission  of the                                                               
Division of Administrative Services  (DAS) is to deliver, assist,                                                               
and serve,  which is aptly  summed up by  the acronym "DAS."   He                                                               
said  DAS delivers  key products  and  services in  the forms  of                                                               
information   technology,  budget,   financial  management,   and                                                               
procurement.    He  stated  that it  assists  DMVA  personnel  in                                                               
executing their assigned missions.   He added that DAS is mindful                                                               
of whom  it ultimately  serves -  the state's  veteran population                                                               
and  all  Alaskans.    He gave  practical  examples  of  services                                                               
provided -  uniforms for  AMYA cadets, food  for the  AMYA dining                                                               
facility,  or materials  for  use  in the  classroom  - and  more                                                               
complex services, such as providing  contract support in disaster                                                               
response and relief efforts.   He mentioned that his finance team                                                               
is focused  on the  effective and  efficient management  of DAS's                                                               
complex accounting system.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. DUFFY, referring back  to Representative Spohnholz's question                                                               
about veterinary services  in the U.S. Armed  Forces, stated that                                                               
the primary mission of these  veterinarians is to provide support                                                               
to the  military working  dogs that  are part  of the  U.S. Army,                                                               
U.S. Marine  Corps, and  U.S. Air Force  security forces.   Their                                                               
secondary role is to provide  veterinary services to the eligible                                                               
population  on  the  installation  "within  the  means  of  their                                                               
capacity."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:01:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ROBERT  DOEHL,  Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of  Military  &                                                               
Veterans'  Affairs (DMVA),  explained that  the federal  military                                                               
has  reserve components  for all  branches of  the military,  but                                                               
only  the  U.S.  Navy  and  the  U.S.  Marine  Corps  have  state                                                               
components.    The Alaska  Naval  Militia  consists of  about  60                                                               
Alaskans  in the  U.S.  Navy Reserve,  who  have volunteered  for                                                               
state  service as  well as  federal service.   They  are trained,                                                               
available to assist in time  of state disaster, and volunteer for                                                               
state active duty in time of disaster.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL  referred  to  slide   28,  titled  "Alaska  Aerospace                                                               
Corporation,"  and said  that  the  Alaska Aerospace  Corporation                                                               
(AAC) is not,  by statute, part of  DMVA.  It reports  to a board                                                               
of directors, is appointed by  Governor Bill Walker, and the DMVA                                                               
provides administrative  oversight.  He  said that two  years ago                                                               
the  general funds  appropriation for  operating AAC  was "zeroed                                                               
out," and  no funds  have been  requested this  year.   He stated                                                               
that  AAC provides  aerospace  services.   It  operates a  rocket                                                               
launch facility  on Kodiak and  provides rocket  launch services,                                                               
such  as  radar safety  telemetry  for  "anywhere in  the  world"                                                               
rocket launches.  He said that  there will be two rocket launches                                                               
on  Kodiak  this  summer,  in  May and  June,  and  possibly  two                                                               
additional  ones.   He related  that  AAC is  generating a  self-                                                               
sustaining amount  of money for  itself, including $8  million of                                                               
contracts with  the federal government  and a  commercial venture                                                               
for $700,000  to provide launch  services outside of  Alaska with                                                               
the telemetry equipment.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:05:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  asked about  "the ownership  structure of                                                               
the launch facility."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. DOEHL said  that the board of directors  continues to explore                                                               
options  for ultimate  privatization, but  remains concerned  for                                                               
possible loss of trust and  confidence in the AAC, with sensitive                                                               
contracts at stake.   He expressed the concerns:   not disrupting                                                               
a growing business;  needing to protect Alaska's  interest in AAC                                                               
and  making  sure  there  is  fair  compensation;  providing  for                                                               
ongoing sustainability;  and fulfilling a vital  national need in                                                               
terms of  the second  rocket launch facility  in the  nation that                                                               
can do polar launches.  He  added that the rocket launch facility                                                               
is in an  optimal location for the Arctic  launches necessary for                                                               
the satellite arrays needed for  development of the Arctic and is                                                               
in a necessary training area.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER noted  that  AAC is  in  the position  to                                                               
diversify the economy, as constituents often advocate.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:06:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL,  in  response  to  Representative  Reinbold's  stated                                                               
appreciation  for   no  budget   request  associated   with  AAC,                                                               
attributed  that   to  the   business  development   model  under                                                               
President and CEO  Craig E. Campbell of AAC.   He opined that the                                                               
national need  for AAC is  probably even greater  considering the                                                               
threats from North Korea and other  rogue nations.  He added that                                                               
the rocket  launch site  is the optimal  location to  develop and                                                               
validate the technology necessary to defeat those threats.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DOEHL referred  to slide  31,  titled "Alaska  GF Budget  by                                                               
Department," and  reiterated the  small "slice  of the  pie" DMVA                                                               
represents  in  the   state  budget  and  the   ample  funds  the                                                               
department brings into the state.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:12:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs meeting was                                                                 
adjourned at 3:12 p.m.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
FY18 DMVA Department Overview (H)MVA FINAL.pdf HMLV 1/19/2017 1:00:00 PM
Dept. of Military & Veterans Affairs Overview