Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532


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11:34:10 AM Start
11:35:17 AM Briefings: Lieutenant General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, Commander, Alaskan North American Aerospace Command Region; Commander, Alaskan Command, U.s. Northern Command; Commander Eleventh Air Force - Major General Bryan R. Owens, Commanding General, U.s. Army Ak - Rear Admiral Michael F. Mcallister, Commander, Seventeenth U.s. Coast Guard District - Major General Laurel J. Hummel, Adjutant General, Ak National Guard; Commissioner, Ak Dept. of Military & Veterans' Affairs.
01:07:53 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Lieutenant General Kenneth S. Wilsbach
- Commander, Alaskan North American Aerospace
Command Region
- Commander, Alaskan Command, U.S. Northern
- Commander, Eleventh Air Force
Major General Bryan R. Owens
- Commanding General, U.S. Army AK
Rear Admiral Michael F. McAllister
- Commander, Seventeenth U.S. Coast Guard
Major General Laurel J. Hummel
- The Adjutant General, AK National Guard
- Commissioner, AK Dept. of Military & Veterans'
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                 JOINT ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE                                                                               
                         March 23, 2017                                                                                         
                           11:34 a.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Scott Kawasaki, Co-Chair                                                                                         
Senator Mia Costello, Co-Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Zach Fansler                                                                                                     
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Shelley Hughes                                                                                                          
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
PUBLIC MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                      
Nelson N. Angapak, Sr. (via teleconference)                                                                                     
Brigadier General Julio ("Randy") Bañez - retired                                                                               
Jerry Beasley, Chief Warrant Officer, USCG - retired                                                                            
Colonel Tim Jones - retired                                                                                                     
OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                                                                     
Representative Justin Parish                                                                                                    
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Pete Kelly                                                                                                              
PUBLIC MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                         
Colonel George Vakalis - retired                                                                                                
Charles ("Chick") Wallace                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
BRIEFINGS:   LIEUTENANT GENERAL  KENNETH S.  WILSBACH~ COMMANDER~                                                               
ALASKAN  NORTH  AMERICAN  AEROSPACE  COMMAND  REGION;  COMMANDER~                                                               
ALASKAN COMMAND~  U.S. NORTHERN  COMMAND; COMMANDER  ELEVENTH AIR                                                               
FORCE -  MAJOR GENERAL BRYAN  R. OWENS~ COMMANDING  GENERAL~ U.S.                                                               
ARMY  AK  -  REAR  ADMIRAL   MICHAEL  F.  MCALLISTER~  COMMANDER~                                                               
SEVENTEENTH U.S. COAST  GUARD DISTRICT - MAJOR  GENERAL LAUREL J.                                                               
HUMMEL~ ADJUTANT GENERAL~ AK NATIONAL GUARD; COMMISSIONER~ AK                                                                   
DEPT. OF MILITARY & VETERANS' AFFAIRS.                                                                                          
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MAJOR GENERAL LAUREL J. HUMMEL, Adjutant General                                                                                
Alaska National Guard;                                                                                                          
Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs (DMVA)                                                                               
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave introductory remarks and offered an                                                                 
update of the activities of the Alaska National Guard.                                                                          
LIEUTENANT GENERAL KENNETH S. WILSBACH, Commander                                                                               
Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Region                                                                                 
Alaskan Command                                                                                                                 
Eleventh Air Force                                                                                                              
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a briefing on the activities and plans                                                              
of military branches which he commands.                                                                                         
MAJOR GENERAL BRYAN R. OWENS, Commanding General                                                                                
U.S. Army Alaska                                                                                                                
Fort Richardson, Alaska                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a briefing regarding the U.S. Army in                                                               
REAR ADMIRAL MICHAEL F. MCALLISTER, Commander                                                                                   
Seventeenth U.S. Coast Guard District                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a briefing on the U.S. Coast Guard in                                                               
CHAPLAIN (COLONEL) RICK KOCH                                                                                                    
Alaska National Guard                                                                                                           
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Discussed ethics during the briefing on the                                                              
DMVA and Alaska National Guard.                                                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
11:34:10 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  SCOTT   KAWASAKI  called   the  Joint   Armed  Services                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at  11:34  a.m.    Representatives                                                               
Fansler,  LeDoux,  Reinbold,  Tarr,  and  Kawasaki  and  Senators                                                               
Coghill, Hughes,  Wielechowski, and Costello were  present at the                                                               
call to  order.  Public  members present were Nelson  N. Angapak,                                                               
Sr.  (via  teleconference),  Brigadier  General  Julio  ("Randy")                                                               
Bañez -  retired, Jerry  Beasley, Chief  Warrant Officer,  USCG -                                                               
retired, and Colonel Tim Jones - retired.                                                                                       
^BRIEFINGS:  Lieutenant General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, Commander,                                                             
  Alaskan North American Aerospace Command Region; Commander,                                                               
 Alaskan Command, U.S. Northern Command; Commander Eleventh Air                                                             
 Force - Major General Bryan R. Owens, Commanding General, U.S.                                                             
    Army AK - Rear Admiral Michael F. McAllister, Commander,                                                                
Seventeenth U.S. Coast Guard District - Major General Laurel J.                                                             
 Hummel, Adjutant General, AK National Guard; Commissioner, AK                                                              
             Dept. of Military & Veterans' Affairs.                                                                         
BRIEFINGS:  Lieutenant General Kenneth S. Wilsbach, Commander,                                                                  
Alaskan North American Aerospace Command Region; Commander,                                                                     
Alaskan Command, U.S. Northern Command; Commander Eleventh Air                                                                  
Force - Major General Bryan R. Owens, Commanding General, U.S.                                                                  
Army AK - Rear Admiral Michael F. McAllister, Commander,                                                                        
Seventeenth U.S. Coast Guard District - Major General Laurel J.                                                                 
Hummel, Adjutant General, AK National Guard; Commissioner, AK                                                                   
Dept. of Military & Veterans' Affairs.                                                                                          
11:35:17 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  KAWASAKI  announced that  the  only  order of  business                                                               
would be  briefings from  the heads of  the military  branches in                                                               
Alaska:   Lieutenant General Kenneth  S. Wilsbach,  Major General                                                               
Bryan R.  Owens, Rear  Admiral Michael  F. McAllister,  and Major                                                               
General Laurel J. Hummel.                                                                                                       
11:37:08 AM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL   LAUREL  J.  HUMMEL,  Adjutant   General,  Alaska                                                               
National Guard; Commissioner, Department  of Military & Veterans'                                                               
Affairs (DMVA),  stated that Alaska Statute  directs the adjutant                                                               
general  as the  official liaison  between the  state and  active                                                               
military  within  the  state,  which   she  said  gives  her  the                                                               
opportunity to work with military  service members and leaders of                                                               
all service  branches, while representing  the state  in military                                                               
matters.   She stated,  "Teamwork and a  sense of  common purpose                                                               
are the touchstones  for the military in Alaska."   She proceeded                                                               
to introduce the other military leaders in the room.                                                                            
11:40:03 AM                                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT GENERAL KENNETH S.  WILSBACH, Commander, Alaskan North                                                               
American Aerospace Defense Region,  Alaskan Command, Eleventh Air                                                               
Force,  emphasized  the  cooperation  and  compatibility  of  the                                                               
military branches  and leadership in Alaska  and his appreciation                                                               
of the  support received  from the  State of  Alaska.   He talked                                                               
about  the  unique  experience   military  personnel  receive  in                                                               
Alaska,  where Alaskans  welcome them  to their  homes as  family                                                               
members, which  he said is  why so  many military members  end up                                                               
staying in Alaska.                                                                                                              
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH  began  a  PowerPoint  presentation                                                               
[hard  copy  included in  the  committee  packet].   He  directed                                                               
attention to  slide 2, and  indicated he would offer  an overview                                                               
of the  past year,  the present,  and the future.   He  turned to                                                               
slide  3,  entitled  "Exercises,"  and  highlighted  two  of  the                                                               
exercises.    The first  exercise  was  called "Arctic  Chinook,"                                                               
which involved  all factions of the  military in a practice  of a                                                               
hypothetical rescue  of cruise ship passengers  traveling through                                                               
Arctic regions.   He said the impetus for  creating this exercise                                                               
was  the  cruise ship  "Crystal  Serenity's"  voyage through  the                                                               
Bering Strait, across the northern  coast of Canada, to New York,                                                               
and the desire  to be prepared if a voyage  such as that resulted                                                               
in  a need  for  rescue.   The  second  exercise  was "RED  FLAG-                                                               
Alaska,"  which he  said involves  three to  four events  a year,                                                               
based out of Joint Base  Elmendorf-Richardson, as well as Eielson                                                               
Air  Force  Base, with  nations  from  all  over the  world  that                                                               
participate -  16 nations in 2016.   The area used  is the Alaska                                                               
Range,  and  the  exercise  involves  "the  high  end  of  aerial                                                               
combat."   He  said the  other nations  that participate  receive                                                               
what is often  the best training they have had,  and they want to                                                               
come  back.   Working with  other nations  provides the  training                                                               
necessary  should  a  situation   arise  in  which  nations  must                                                               
integrate with  each other.   He commented  on the space  that is                                                               
necessary  to  operate fifth  generation  aircraft  and that  the                                                               
range meets that need.                                                                                                          
11:45:16 AM                                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL WILSBACH  turned  next to  slide 4,  entitled                                                               
"Operations and Events," and he  brought attention to information                                                               
highlighted in yellow on the bottom-right  of the slide.  He said                                                               
there  is  a  rescue  coordination center  that  works  24/7,  in                                                               
combination with  the U.S.  Air Force and  the National  Guard of                                                               
Alaska, "but  often times  U.S. Army  aircraft are  involved with                                                               
the rescue."   He said, "This past year, we  had 53 Alaskans that                                                               
were saved  by this rescue  force."  He  said the average  is one                                                               
save  per  week.    Lieutenant   General  Wilsbach  informed  the                                                               
committee that another 24/7 mission,  which operates out of Joint                                                               
Base  Elmendorf-Richardson and  Eielson  Air Force  Base, is  the                                                               
defense of North America.  He continued as follows:                                                                             
     We're  partnering  up  with  Canada  and  we  ...  have                                                                    
     fighters on  alert - they are  able to launch in  a few                                                                    
     minutes -  and we  also have  an [airborne  warning and                                                                    
     control system] (AWACS) aircraft  for not being able to                                                                    
     surveil any air space that  we might want to surveil in                                                                    
     response to any threats that  we perceive, as well as a                                                                    
     tanker that sits alert up  at Eielson, which is able to                                                                    
     refuel those assets  once we get airborne.   And so, in                                                                    
     addition to that National  Guard squadron that operates                                                                    
     24/7 is [the] monitoring  [of] the numerous radar feeds                                                                    
     that come in  from all over the state  that monitor the                                                                    
     air space around Alaska.                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT   GENERAL  WILSBACH   pointed  to   "Operation  Colony                                                               
Glacier" - shown at the top-left  of the slide, and noted that in                                                               
1952 a  C-124 cargo aircraft  crashed on Colony  Glacier, killing                                                               
everyone on board, and it  was missing for several decades, until                                                               
a National  Guard helicopter  spotted wreckage  a few  years ago.                                                               
He  said recovery  of the  remains has  been conducted  "over the                                                               
last few  summers," and the work  will continue in the  summer of                                                               
2017 through National Guard and U.S. Airforce efforts.                                                                          
11:47:53 AM                                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH  directed  attention  to  slide  5,                                                               
entitled "Strategic Importance,"  to the bottom of  the slide, to                                                               
a quote by Brigadier General  Billy Mitchell during his testimony                                                               
to U.S. Congress in 1935, which  read as follows:  "Alaska is the                                                               
most strategic  place on earth."   The map  on the slide  shows a                                                               
map with Alaska  at the center of an oval,  and everything within                                                               
the oval  - including South America  and the major cities  of the                                                               
Northern  Hemisphere -  can  be reached  in 9  hours  or less  of                                                               
flying time.   He  said that "presents  a great  force projection                                                               
capability"  and  explains  why  Alaska has  military  forces  to                                                               
provide humanitarian  assistance around  the world or  to respond                                                               
to  conflict.   He reported  that currently  there are  forces in                                                               
Southwest Asia  executing daily missions against  ISIS.  Further,                                                               
he  related  that  "the  525 fighter  squadron  F-22s  have  been                                                               
dropping  numerous weapons  and destroying  targets in  both Iraq                                                               
and Syria over the last several  months," and he noted that those                                                               
involved got their training in Alaska.                                                                                          
11:49:39 AM                                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH  moved  on  to  slide  6,  entitled                                                               
"Evolving Arctic."   He said  the bottom-right image  shows where                                                               
the ice used  to be in the  Arctic and how it  is receding, which                                                               
has opened opportunities  for human activity in the  Arctic.  The                                                               
top-right image  shows transit routes  in the Arctic,  which save                                                               
considerable time  in transit.   He said  other reasons to  be in                                                               
the Arctic include  tourism and natural resources.   The image in                                                               
the top-left of the slide shows  the claims in the Arctic by many                                                               
countries.   He  said while  those claims  are overlapping,  they                                                               
have been resolved peacefully.   The bottom-left image, he noted,                                                               
shows Russia's claim at  the top of the globe, and  he said it is                                                               
concerning,  because it  overlaps with  many other  nations.   He                                                               
     We want the Arctic to  remain a peaceful place, but one                                                                    
     thing that concern me, as  a military person, is I look                                                                    
     at Russia and what they're  building, as far as Arctic-                                                                    
     capable   combat  forces   -  significantly   offensive                                                                    
     capability.   They  have as  many as  40 ice  breakers,                                                                    
     which  makes sense,  given that  much of  their country                                                                    
     boarders the  Arctic and  they have  to keep  those sea                                                                    
     lanes open; but ...  the offensive capability certainly                                                                    
     concerns me.                                                                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  WILSBACH said one of  his responsibilities as                                                               
Northern Command  (NorthCom) commander  is to ensure  good Arctic                                                               
strategies.  He  emphasized a commitment to  maintaining peace in                                                               
the Arctic.                                                                                                                     
11:52:04 AM                                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WILSBACH showed  slide 7, entitled "Eielson F-                                                               
35."  He  said the plan is  to acquire 54 aircraft,  the first of                                                               
which will  arrive in the spring  or summer of 2020  and the last                                                               
of which should arrive  on or before the winter of  2022.  In the                                                               
meantime, he  stated, there is much  building to do:   about $500                                                               
million in military construction -  several buildings to bring on                                                               
the new  mission.   He explained  that the  military will  not be                                                               
trading something else  for the F-35s but are  installing them as                                                               
a new mission, which will  bring about 3,500 additional personnel                                                               
to the base,  doubling the population.  He  highlighted that base                                                               
housing will be  maxed out, and he has been  talking to mayors in                                                               
the areas of  Eielson Air Force Base, North  Pole, and Fairbanks,                                                               
to ask them  to consider construction for  housing to accommodate                                                               
young families moving to the area.                                                                                              
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL WILSBACH  turned to  slide 8,  entitled "FY17                                                               
MILCON," which  shows military construction  (MILCON) information                                                               
for fiscal year 2017 (FY17).   The branches of military are color                                                               
coded on the slide  and he said Alaska is doing  well in terms of                                                               
economic  impact through  the U.S.  Department of  Defense (DoD),                                                               
with $563 million  invested in Alaska - number one  in the nation                                                               
and  $120  million more  than  any  other  state.   He  said  the                                                               
national leadership  recognizes the  strategic nature  of Alaska,                                                               
and "we  have to invest  here to be able  to be ready  to execute                                                               
our mission."                                                                                                                   
11:54:23 AM                                                                                                                   
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH  directed attention  to  the  final                                                               
PowerPoint projection, slide  9, entitled "On Our  Scope," and he                                                               
said homeland  defense is the  number one  priority.  He  said if                                                               
there is a significant threat,  the number of forces dedicated to                                                               
homeland security could  be increased.  He said, "We  keep a very                                                               
close eye  toward the threat."   All  threats have "some  sort of                                                               
implication  to us  here  in  Alaska."   He  named the  following                                                               
countries:  Russia, China, North Korea,  and Iran.  He said North                                                               
Korea has nuclear aspirations, as  well as has been developing an                                                               
intercontinental  ballistic missile,  which  is  concerning.   He                                                               
said  if  Iran were  ever  to  employ intercontinental  ballistic                                                               
missiles against  the U.S.,  those missiles  would "go  by here,"                                                               
and forces  at Ft. Greely  would be responsible  for intercepting                                                               
those inbound missiles.                                                                                                         
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL WILSBACH,  regarding international  terrorism                                                               
or  violent extremist  organizations, stated,  "We certainly  are                                                               
fighting that now as we  have forces downrange fighting them even                                                               
today."  He asked the committee  to think about the families that                                                               
are  left in  Alaska while  their loved  ones are  fighting -  to                                                               
"keep them in  your thoughts and prayers if  you're so inclined."                                                               
He  said  all  the  threats  that have  been  named  as  the  top                                                               
priorities for DoD have "some sort  of implications to us here in                                                               
Alaska"; therefore,  "we are  ready to fight  tonight."   He said                                                               
one of his boss's objectives is  a readiness to "deploy and fight                                                               
at any time," and he confirmed that is a reality.                                                                               
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WILSBACH talked  about Arctic advocacy, and he                                                               
said he is frequently in the  position of being the Arctic expert                                                               
because of the amount of time  spent operating in the region.  He                                                               
said his  colleagues are [experts] in  their respective services.                                                               
He mentioned "Northern Edge," which  is an exercise much like RED                                                               
FLAG-Alaska but with  a maritime component added, and  he said it                                                               
would be  taking place  May 1-12,  2017.   He said  Alaska Native                                                               
fisherman,  as  well  as  commercial  fisherman,  have  expressed                                                               
concern  about the  maritime  portion of  the  exercise, and  the                                                               
military  has  listened  to  those   concerns  and  modified  the                                                               
exercise to try  to stay as far away from  the fishing activities                                                               
as  possible.   He  said  the exercise  brings  together air  and                                                               
maritime  forces to  "fight jointly  in an  exercise environment,                                                               
which is how we actually fight  in the real world."  He expressed                                                               
appreciation to  the State of  Alaska for providing both  the air                                                               
and maritime space  that make it possible for  these exercises to                                                               
take place.                                                                                                                     
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  WILSBACH drew attention  to the last  item on                                                               
slide 9, regarding  the care of families.  He  said many military                                                               
members come  to Alaska and  fall in love  with it, but  they are                                                               
far away  from home.   The  military wants to  take care  of them                                                               
while they are  in Alaska, as well as their  loved ones while the                                                               
members  are  deployed.    He  indicated  that  the  aim  is  for                                                               
retention  and to  offer military  personnel "a  good quality  of                                                               
life as they serve their country."                                                                                              
11:58:33 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  referred to slide  8 and noted  that her                                                               
father was site  manager of the [ballistic  missile early warning                                                               
system] in  '60s, at Clear  Air Force Station, and  she requested                                                               
an update.                                                                                                                      
LIEUTENANT GENERAL WILSBACH suggested  Major General Hummel could                                                               
better  respond  to  the  question.    Notwithstanding  that,  he                                                               
offered  that there  have been  upgrades to  the radar,  which he                                                               
said is "integral  to the defense of North America"  and can keep                                                               
track of spacecraft.  He explained  that the radar can detect any                                                               
missile fired  [towards Alaska] and  feed the coordinates  to the                                                               
missiles  at Fort  Greely, which  would "conduct  the intercept."                                                               
He emphasized  the importance of continually  updating the radar.                                                               
He  noted  that  some  of  the facilities  [at  Clear  Air  Force                                                               
Station]  are old;  therefore, they  are being  renovated or  new                                                               
ones are being built.  The site  is remote, so it is important to                                                               
the  military to  create a  [comfortable] place  for its  members                                                               
there to live.                                                                                                                  
12:01:24 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if the  threat level has "legitimately                                                               
increased" or  is being  exaggerated by the  press.   Further, he                                                               
inquired whether  Alaska, because of  its proximity, is  a likely                                                               
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH, to  the  first  question, said  it                                                               
depends  on  the  country;  however, he  said  the  rhetoric  and                                                               
activity  coming from  North Korea  gives him  cause for  concern                                                               
that the threat  has increased.  To the second  question, he said                                                               
there are facilities in Alaska  that could be considered targets,                                                               
which is  why the military has  forces in Alaska that  can defend                                                               
the nation.                                                                                                                     
12:02:43 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX, regarding the  previous mention of Russia,                                                               
asked, "Under what color of  international law is it making those                                                               
claims, and does anybody else claim  the Arctic?  Do we claim the                                                               
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH  referred  back to  [slide  6]  and                                                               
explained how the various colors  represent different claims, and                                                               
he reiterated  that the claims  overlap.  He indicated  that [the                                                               
claims]  are connected  to international  law,  many to  maritime                                                               
law.   Many countries  make the claim  based on  their historical                                                               
association with  the area.   He reemphasized that thus  far, all                                                               
the countries have  managed the overlapping claims  in a peaceful                                                               
and  diplomatic  way,  and  if that  method  is  continued,  then                                                               
differences  regarding  economic  rights   will  continue  to  be                                                               
solved.   He  noted  that  the areas  are  either  water or  ice,                                                               
depending  on the  time  of year.   In  response  to a  follow-up                                                               
question,  Lieutenant General  Wilsbach said  most operations  of                                                               
ours and other countries are  done on vessels but occasionally on                                                               
the ice.   He  mentioned an operation  called, "Ice-X,"  which is                                                               
where a submarine is "punched" through  the ice and a camp set up                                                               
on top of the ice, and  he said other countries are doing similar                                                               
things.   He indicated that  military exercises  on international                                                               
waters are legal and "understandable,"  and he said, "Up that far                                                               
north, we're not  claiming any territory there."   He offered his                                                               
understanding  that everyone  has  been  operating in  accordance                                                               
with  international law,  and "these  claims ...  are in  ... the                                                               
international dialogue, and if they  continue to be diplomatic in                                                               
nature, I think we're going to be good."                                                                                        
12:06:15 PM                                                                                                                   
COLONEL TIM JONES  - retired noted that the House  and Senate [of                                                               
the   Alaska  State   Legislature]   are  currently   considering                                                               
legislation  to enact  REAL ID  compliant identification,  and he                                                               
offered   his  understanding   that  without   such  legislation,                                                               
hundreds  of   Alaskans  working   as  contractors   on  military                                                               
installations  will   be  denied   entry  onto   military  bases,                                                               
beginning June  [2017].  He  referred to the [over]  $500 million                                                               
spent  in  MILCON   in  2017  and  the  $512   million  spent  to                                                               
accommodate the F-35s,  and over $400 million  for the long-range                                                               
discrimination radar  (LRDR).  He  stated that the military  is a                                                               
big portion  of Interior Alaska's  economy.  He opined,  "I think                                                               
it's important  that this committee  support this  legislation in                                                               
general."   He questioned whether additional  [MILCON] labor will                                                               
be possible should [REAL ID-compliant]  legislation fail to pass,                                                               
and he asked Lieutenant General  Wilsbach for his thoughts on the                                                               
impact to the military.                                                                                                         
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL WILSBACH  said according  to his  briefing of                                                               
the  [federal]   law,  starting  June  anyone   without  REAL  ID                                                               
compliant identification will  have to be escorted  on a military                                                               
base.     He  relayed  that  REAL   ID  compliant  identification                                                               
includes:   a  passport, military  identification, or  a driver's                                                               
license from another  state that is REAL ID compliant.   It would                                                               
include  an Alaska  driver's license  if Alaska  becomes REAL  ID                                                               
compliant.  He noted that having  to escort those without REAL ID                                                               
compliant  identification on  base creates  "a little  bit of  an                                                               
extra burden."  He said he  would not have the authority to grant                                                               
12:08:31 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGHES offered her understanding,  based on something she                                                               
had read  about three years ago,  that Russia was planning  a $10                                                               
million buildup of  unmanned aircraft on its side  of the Arctic.                                                               
She asked Lieutenant General Wilsbach  if that plan has proceeded                                                               
and, if so, if the military  situation in Alaska is "balanced" in                                                               
terms of its capabilities.                                                                                                      
LIEUTENANT  GENERAL  WILSBACH  replied that  although  he  cannot                                                               
confirm "the figure," he knows  [Russia] is advancing in terms of                                                               
its  unmanned vehicles  and  plans  to put  them  in the  eastern                                                               
portion  of the  country, which  would be  close to  Alaska.   He                                                               
offered  to  provide  additional  information  later,  but  said,                                                               
"We're postured for that."                                                                                                      
12:09:41 PM                                                                                                                   
The committee took a brief at-ease at 12:09 p.m.                                                                                
12:10:00 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL  BRYAN R.  OWENS,  Commanding  General, U.S.  Army                                                               
Alaska,  expressed appreciation  for  the  military support  from                                                               
Alaskans,   including   individuals,   business   owners,   local                                                               
governments, and the legislature.                                                                                               
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS began a  PowerPoint presentation  [hard copy                                                               
available in the  committee packet] and explained  that the photo                                                               
[of a  soldier dressed  in winter gear  and walking  outside] was                                                               
taken in Deadhorse, Alaska, with  an outside temperature of minus                                                               
60  degrees  Fahrenheit.    He directed  attention  to  slide  2,                                                               
entitled  "Trained and  Ready Forces."    He said  the U.S.  Army                                                               
Alaska  (USARAK) has  active duty  troops stationed  primarily in                                                               
Fort  Wainwright  and  Joint  Base  Elmendorf-Richardson  (JBER).                                                               
Fort Wainwright is the home  of the nation's northernmost Stryker                                                               
brigade combat team  (BCT) and USARAK Aviation Task  Force.  "1st                                                               
Stryker"  just executed  a  successful  National Training  Center                                                               
(NTC) rotation  at the NTC  at Fort Irwin, California,  this past                                                               
January.   He explained, "This rigorous  training exercise tested                                                               
and  validated the  Arctic Wolves'  capabilities  across all  the                                                               
war-fighting functions  and ensure[s]  the brigade's  prepared to                                                               
deploy, fight,  and win  in a complex  environment."   He relayed                                                               
that the general support aviation  battalion recently deployed to                                                               
Afghanistan; the  Flying Dragons sent approximately  300 soldiers                                                               
and  aircraft  to conduct  "heliborne"  operations  to assist  in                                                               
training Afghan security forces.                                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL   OWENS  stated  JBER   is  the  home   of  USARAK                                                               
headquarters,  which  is   primarily  responsible  for  providing                                                               
"training  and readiness  authority over  the assigned  units, as                                                               
well as  provide oversight  for the active  duty armed  forces in                                                               
the state  of Alaska."  He  said maneuver forces located  at JBER                                                               
include the 4/25  F-trooper (indisc.) combat team,  which he said                                                               
is  "the only  U.S. Army  airborne  brigade in  the Asia  Pacific                                                               
theater of  operations."  He  said JBER is  also the home  of the                                                               
17th Combat  Sustainment Support  Battalion (CSSB),  with diverse                                                               
missions  and capabilities.   He  said both  units are  busy with                                                               
exercises  "to ensure  readiness  and deployments  in support  of                                                               
worldwide  operations."    He  reported  that  approximately  160                                                               
soldiers from  JBER and  Fort Wainwright  just deployed  to fight                                                               
the  Islamic State  of  Iraq  and Syria  (ISIS),  with the  574th                                                               
Combat Support  Company, which was activated  October 14, [2016],                                                               
under  17th CSSB.    He  said, "This  will  be  the unit's  first                                                               
deployment since  activation, but  it's the sixth  deployment for                                                               
the commander."   He said 4/25  will head to the  Joint Readiness                                                               
Training  Center   in  June  for  a   "decisive  action  training                                                               
environment rotation" at Fort Hope, Louisiana.                                                                                  
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS noted that  the third location in  Alaska is                                                               
the  Norther Warfare  Training Center  (NWTC),  located at  Black                                                               
Rapids, near Fort Greely.  He  said NWTC is the [USARAK's] center                                                               
for  world-class Arctic  and mountain  warfare instruction.   The                                                               
training lands allow the leverage  of nearly 1.6 million acres of                                                               
joint Pacific  Alaska range complex.   For perspective,  he noted                                                               
that the national  training center is 2.5 times  smaller than the                                                               
training  area  in Alaska.    He  said  troopers are  trained  to                                                               
"thrive, not just survive," in  extreme cold conditions.  He said                                                               
there are historic  examples of times when  armies were decimated                                                               
because they were not prepared to survive and fight in the cold.                                                                
12:14:45 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL OWENS  turned to  slide 3,  entitled "Unclassified                                                               
Operations."  He stated, "Our nation  depends on its army to help                                                               
with  recovery efforts  in the  wake  of a  natural disaster;  to                                                               
defeat  enemy forces  abroad; and  to  defend the  shores of  the                                                               
homeland."  He said professional  soldiers work, study, and train                                                               
to ensure  the success of the  U.S. Army in meeting  the needs of                                                               
the nation.   He said  USARAK is  at the forefront  of protecting                                                               
America's  interest  in  the  Asia  Pacific  Region,  while  also                                                               
providing  "ready and  relevant  forces  to overseas  contingency                                                               
operations and homeland defense."                                                                                               
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS said  Alaska is one  of the  U.S. Military's                                                               
"most  centrally   located  power  projection   platform[s]"  and                                                               
[USARAK]  benefits from  joint training  opportunities in  varied                                                               
environments that  provide ideal  training grounds  that "prepare                                                               
our soldiers  for the challenges of  our times."  He  stated that                                                               
Alaska is the only one of  the 50 states that borders the Arctic.                                                               
He  said that  USARAK's location  in the  Arctic results  in both                                                               
unique challenges  and opportunities.  Conditions  require Arctic                                                               
fuel craft  and the  knowledge and  ability to  operate sustained                                                               
operations in  an environment where  temperatures can  "hover" at                                                               
minus  50 degrees  Fahrenheit,  storms  generate hurricane  force                                                               
winds,  and  the  terrain  is  impassable  with  "Lower  48  land                                                               
mobility systems."   He  said [USARAK]  builds its  strength with                                                               
joint and  multinational exercises,  which prepares  its soldiers                                                               
for "the challenges that lie ahead."                                                                                            
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  emphasized the  importance  of  developing                                                               
bilateral  and  multilateral   relationships  with  international                                                               
partners  with  shared  goals  and mutual  interests.    He  said                                                               
[USARAK]  trains   with  foreign   partners  with   cold  weather                                                               
experience  and  invites  them  to Alaska  for  the  Cold  Region                                                               
Military  Mountaineering Collaborative  Training Event;  the next                                                               
one is scheduled for February  2018 and will include cold weather                                                               
experts from around  the world.  Major General  Owens said USARAK                                                               
also  supports Pacific  Commanders  Theater Engagement  Strategy,                                                               
which involves exercises and engagements  with partners in Japan,                                                               
Canada, Thailand,  Nepal, India, and  Mongolia.  He  relayed that                                                               
in the  summer of  2017, the Stryker  and airborne  brigades will                                                               
play a  central role  in "Pacific  pathways ...  conducted around                                                               
the Pacific in Australia, Singapore, Thailand, and Japan."                                                                      
12:17:33 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS directed  attention  to  slide 4,  entitled                                                               
"Unclassified Arctic  Anvil 16," and  he said he  would highlight                                                               
two recent  exercises that "exemplify  the great  capabilities of                                                               
our  units and  demonstrate  the terrific  training  that we  can                                                               
accomplish  here  in  Alaska."   The  first,  Arctic  Anvil,  was                                                               
conducted in  the Joint  Pacific Alaska  Training Complex  in the                                                               
summer  of 2016  and  provided "a  robust  home station  training                                                               
force on force  combat exercise, primarily to test  and prove the                                                               
readiness of  1st Stryker brigade  and the aviation units  we had                                                               
deploying  down  in advance  of  their  national training  center                                                               
deployment."   He relayed that Fort  Wainwright's newest aviation                                                               
units  had the  opportunity to  train in  a joint,  multinational                                                               
combined arms  exercise - the largest  in Alaska since 2001.   He                                                               
reported that over 5,000  soldiers participated, including people                                                               
from USARAK, the Alaska National  Guard, the Iowa National Guard,                                                               
and  the U.S.  Air  Force.   He  expressed  appreciation for  the                                                               
relationship between the  varied forces.  He  mentioned the 196th                                                               
Infantry  Brigade,  the  Canadian military,  and  observers  from                                                               
Singapore and Japan.                                                                                                            
MAJOR  GENERAL OWENS  stated that  Arctic Anvil  was selected  by                                                               
higher  headquarters  to  test the  joint  Pacific  multinational                                                               
readiness  capability.   He  said,  "It's  a deployable  training                                                               
system  with  instrumentation  and  observer/controller  trainers                                                               
that enhance  the ability to  conduct our home  station training.                                                               
So, our  army is going more  and more to home  station training."                                                               
He said Arctic  Anvil improved the readiness  of the Alaska-based                                                               
units and was successful in showing training capabilities.                                                                      
12:20:09 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS turned to  slide 5, entitled "Spartan Pegasus                                                               
17."   He reiterated  the extreme  cold conditions  and expressed                                                               
pride  in  the  paratrooper  participants   of  the  exercise  in                                                               
Deadhorse,  who jumped  into the  area and  applied their  Arctic                                                               
mobility  training  to  recover  and secure  a  simulated  downed                                                               
satellite.    He  said  [Spartan Pegasus]  was  the  third  large                                                               
airborne  operation conducted  near the  Arctic Ocean.   He  said                                                               
there  were generals  there from  Japan  and Canada,  as well  as                                                               
senior leaders from the U.S.  Army, U.S. National Guard, and U.S.                                                               
Air Force.                                                                                                                      
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  reported that  airborne  forces  are  busy                                                               
getting  ready  for  a multinational,  joint  readiness  training                                                               
center event.   He reiterated  that the Stryker brigade  would be                                                               
participating in Pacific Pathways this  summer, and he added that                                                               
he would be leaving command in  July.  He expressed gratitude for                                                               
being  given   leadership  of  USARAK,   and  he   announced  his                                                               
successor's name is  Major General Mark O'Neil,  who is currently                                                               
the  USARAK chief  of staff.   He  expressed confidence  in Major                                                               
General Mark O'Neil's  ability to continue the  pattern of "great                                                               
MAJOR GENERAL OWENS announced that  a team of USARAK, German, and                                                               
Canadian soldiers  will attempt  to ascend  Denali this  spring -                                                               
bad weather last year having  prevented the group from summiting.                                                               
He said the  airborne brigade has been invited  to participate in                                                               
"Japan's First Jump"  this year, which he explained  is an annual                                                               
event,  and he  explained that  being  able to  participate is  a                                                               
great honor.                                                                                                                    
12:22:00 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL  OWENS  ended his  presentation  and  thanked  the                                                               
legislature for its  service to the state.  In  response to Chair                                                               
Kawasaki, he explained  the reason for his  departure from USARAK                                                               
is to  make a transition  "the next chapter, whatever  that might                                                               
be."  He said he and his family would move to Anchorage, Alaska.                                                                
12:22:57 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR COSTELLO talked about Alaska's  recession and the efforts                                                               
being made  to address the issue.   She opined that  the presence                                                               
of the  military in  Alaska is "foundational  to ...  the success                                                               
that we're  going to be seeing  with our economy."   She said she                                                               
had read  something regarding  the U.S. Army  that caused  her to                                                               
have concern.  She asked what  Alaska could be doing and what the                                                               
military is  doing to  prevent the  base realignment  and closure                                                               
(BRAC) process from occurring.                                                                                                  
MAJOR GENERAL  OWENS answered that BRAC  is not bad in  regard to                                                               
the  ability  to  "consolidate  some pieces."    He  stated  that                                                               
currently USARAK has  no force structure changes.   He noted that                                                               
there are some increases for the  U.S. Army - 26,000 overall, but                                                               
about 16,000 to the active force.   He said it is unlikely to see                                                               
those changes  in Alaska, but  there won't  be force cuts  in the                                                               
near future.   He told  Senator Costello  that he is  not hearing                                                               
anything  that  shows any  kind  of  reorganization or  structure                                                               
changes in Alaska.                                                                                                              
12:24:57 PM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR asked  for a  brief update  on environmental                                                               
impact statement  (EIS) process taking  place at JBER,  which she                                                               
offered her  understanding relates  to work  on two  runways, the                                                               
noise involved, and a new process that has been initiated.                                                                      
LIEUTENANT GENERAL  WILSBACH [off  microphone] said  the question                                                               
is in the  scope of the Air  Force and offered to  put a response                                                               
in writing.                                                                                                                     
12:25:47 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  COGHILL   expressed  appreciation  for   [Major  General                                                               
Owens'] work  with the University  of Alaska on "the  gray eagle"                                                               
and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues.                                                                               
12:26:20 PM                                                                                                                   
REAR ADMIRAL  MICHAEL F. MCALLISTER, Commander,  Seventeenth U.S.                                                               
Coast Guard District, offered an opening statement, as follows:                                                                 
     The  Coast  Guard  serves and  safeguards  the  public,                                                                    
     protects  the maritime  environment and  resources, and                                                                    
     defends  the  nation's   interest  in  Alaska  maritime                                                                    
     regions.   In a state  as vast  as Alaska, we  can't do                                                                    
     that  alone,  so we  work  very  closely with  federal,                                                                    
     state,  local,  Alaska  Native  partners,  as  well  as                                                                    
     through  transparent  engagement  with  industries  and                                                                    
     nongovernmental and  private organizations to  meet the                                                                    
     diverse needs of the maritime (indisc.).                                                                                   
REAR   ADMIRAL  MICHAEL   F.   MCALLISTER   began  a   PowerPoint                                                               
presentation [hard copy  available in the committee  packet].  He                                                               
continued as follows:                                                                                                           
     The  17th  Coast  Guard District  includes  the  entire                                                                    
     state  of Alaska  and its  44,000  miles of  coastline.                                                                    
     Coast  Guard units  and  personnel  conduct search  and                                                                    
     rescue missions  in an area responsibility  that covers                                                                    
     3.8  million square  miles of  ocean -  an area  larger                                                                    
     than  the   landmass  of  the  entire   United  States,                                                                    
     including Alaska  - and  we're continually  reminded of                                                                    
     the  hazards of  the  marine  environment through  such                                                                    
     events  as the  recent  tragic sinking  of the  fishing                                                                    
     vessel  Destination and  the loss  of her  six crew  in                                                                    
     February and  the successful rescue of  46 crew members                                                                    
     from the fishing  vessel Alaska Juris when  it sank 690                                                                    
     miles west of Dutch Harbor  last July.  Coast Guard men                                                                    
     and  women are  at  sea and  in the  air  every day  to                                                                    
     provide emergency response.                                                                                                
     Coast  Guard missions  also  include homeland  security                                                                    
     and   military   defense,   maintenance  of   aids   to                                                                    
     navigation,  environmental  preparedness and  response,                                                                    
     and marine  safety of both recreational  and commercial                                                                    
     vessels  throughout  the  state  of  Alaska.    As  the                                                                    
     nation's   smallest  armed   force,  the   Coast  Guard                                                                    
     performs  these  statutory missions  throughout  Alaska                                                                    
     with  2,500 highly  professional active  duty, reserve,                                                                    
     civilian, and  auxiliary or volunteer members  that I'm                                                                    
     honored to represent here today.                                                                                           
REAR ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER said he  would focus his remarks  on the                                                               
Coast Guard's  broad security missions,  which cover  defense and                                                               
environmental and economic  security.  He said  to protect living                                                               
marine resources,  while ensuring  the safety  and sustainability                                                               
of Alaska's  $6 billion fishing  industry, the Coast  Guard works                                                               
closely with both  federal and state partners  to conduct fishing                                                               
vessel boarding  dockside and  throughout the  exclusive economic                                                               
zone, which he described as  being 200 [nautical] miles offshore.                                                               
He said Alaska  has a sustainable fisheries  program, because all                                                               
the  participants  follow  the rules  of  actively  managing  the                                                               
12:29:27 PM                                                                                                                   
REAR  ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER,  while displaying  slide  3,  entitled                                                               
"Illegal Unreported Unregulated  Fishing (IUU) Enforcement," said                                                               
the Coast Guard works closely  with Russia, China, Japan, Canada,                                                               
and South Korea.   It controls joint patrols  and law enforcement                                                               
activities  to   enforce  treaties  designed  to   affect  highly                                                               
migratory fisheries,  such as  salmon, from  illegal, unreported,                                                               
and  unregulated fishing  activity on  the  high seas.   He  said                                                               
despite global  tensions, cooperation among these  nations remain                                                               
strong and the joint efforts have reduced overfishing.                                                                          
REAR ADMIRAL MCALLISTER, displaying  slide 4, entitled "Oil Spill                                                               
Response Coordination," stated  that protecting Alaska's valuable                                                               
marine resources and marine environment  also relies on "a robust                                                               
system  to  prevent  and,  when necessary,  respond  to  oil  and                                                               
chemical spills."   He noted that  the following day -  March 24,                                                               
2017 -  would be the  twenty-eighth anniversary of  the grounding                                                               
of  the Exxon  Valdez [oil  tanker] in  Prince William  Sound, an                                                               
incident that  resulted in the  spilling of 10.1  million gallons                                                               
of crude  oil.  He  said because of  that spill, the  Coast Guard                                                               
has new authorities  to be more proactive both  in prevention and                                                               
response to spills.                                                                                                             
REAR ADMIRAL MCALLISTER continued as follows:                                                                                   
     As the  nation's lead for commercial  vessel safety and                                                                    
     the  federal lead  for spill  response  in the  coastal                                                                    
     zones of Alaska, we work  together with state and local                                                                    
     counterparts to  manage this system  through activities                                                                    
     such  as  oil  spill response  planning,  training  and                                                                    
     exercises,  training  and  certification of  oil  spill                                                                    
     response  organizations,  and   on-scene  oversight  of                                                                    
     spill cleanup efforts.                                                                                                     
     We   must   focus   on  continuing   to   improve   our                                                                    
     capabilities  over  time,  and   the  Coast  Guard  has                                                                    
     published  draft guidelines  for the  implementation of                                                                    
     vessel response  plans, with alternative  criteria that                                                                    
     allows  us  to  tailor  our approaches  to  the  unique                                                                    
     challenges of working in remote areas of Alaska.                                                                           
REAR  ADMIRAL MCALLISTER  talked about  coordinated efforts  with                                                               
the  Canadian Coast  Guard  and exercises  conducted  at the  two                                                               
borders [shown on the slide 4].   He said after a number of years                                                               
of limited  progress, the  U.S. Coast  Guard has  restarted talks                                                               
with  its  Russian  counterparts  to  "update  and  exercise  our                                                               
existing U.S./Russia joint contingency  plan for oil spills along                                                               
our maritime border."                                                                                                           
REAR  ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER  indicated  that  the  Coast  Guard  is                                                               
focused on maintaining its commitment  to excellence and building                                                               
its  capabilities  in  service  to  the  nation.    He  expressed                                                               
excitement that  the Coast Guard  received two new  fast response                                                               
cutters this spring,  because they will allow the  Coast Guard to                                                               
expand its  operations, particularly in  Southeast, Southcentral,                                                               
and the Gulf of Alaska.  He  also noted that the Coast Guard will                                                               
be receiving C-130 J models  in 2018, which will provide extended                                                               
range and endurance  for search and rescue and  other missions in                                                               
Alaska.   Further, he relayed  that the Coast Guard  has recently                                                               
upgraded  its marine  communications equipment  in Southeast  and                                                               
Southcentral Alaska.                                                                                                            
REAR  ADMIRAL   MCALLISTER  highlighted  that  the   Coast  Guard                                                               
recently awarded a  contract to design and  build offshore patrol                                                               
cutters, which  are tailor made  to operate efficiently  in rough                                                               
seas, as are  common in Alaska waters.  He  said the ships should                                                               
come off the production line in the early 2020s.                                                                                
12:32:50 PM                                                                                                                   
REAR  ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER  announced  that  2018  marks  the  one                                                               
hundred and  fiftieth anniversary of  the Coast Guard  service in                                                               
Alaska,   which  began   when   the   "revenue  cutter   service"                                                               
transported government  officials to Sitka, Alaska,  for the land                                                               
transfer from Russia in 1867.  He continued:                                                                                    
     During that same trip, the  revenue cutter Lincoln went                                                                    
     on  to  conduct  its  first Alaska  patrol  to  put  in                                                                    
     coastal    surveys,    protecting   Alaska's    natural                                                                    
     resources, and  serving as an important  and often sole                                                                    
     U.S.  federal  presence  in this  vast  territory,  and                                                                    
     we've been here ever since.                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL MCALLISTER  said he can attest that  the Coast Guard                                                               
men and  women are proud  to serve in  Alaska and are  welcome in                                                               
the state's communities.  They  are also proud to serve alongside                                                               
the other  factions of the  military.  He  expressed appreciation                                                               
to the Joint Armed Services Committee for its support.                                                                          
REAR ADMIRAL MCALLISTER talked about  the change cause by melting                                                               
Arctic ice  and extensive annual  operations conducted  in Arctic                                                               
regions for  the past  several years, called  Arctic Shield.   He                                                               
said  in 2016,  the Coast  Guard had  numerous Coast  Guard ships                                                               
deployed  across  the Arctic  region  to  conduct patrols,  visit                                                               
coastal communities, maintain  "ace navigation," support research                                                               
and  development, and  conduct  exercises.   He  said shore  side                                                               
teams  conducted  training  with  village  fire  departments  and                                                               
volunteers  in  the  area  of  oil  spill  response,  cold  water                                                               
survival, and ice rescues.   In a continuing partnership with the                                                               
State of  Alaska's [Office  of] Boating  Safety, the  Coast Guard                                                               
visited  23 communities  to provide  education  through the  Kids                                                               
Don't Float program to over 2,900 children in Alaska.                                                                           
REAR  ADMIRAL MCALLISTER  talked  about the  highlights of  2016.                                                               
One was  the Coast Guard's  deployment of two  MH-60 helicopters,                                                               
aircrews, and maintenance crew in  Kotzebue.  The Coast Guard was                                                               
given the  use of the  U.S. National Guard's facility,  which was                                                               
instrumental  in those  operations, he  said.   Another highlight                                                               
was the  preparation of the  historic transit of the  cruise ship                                                               
Crystal  Serenity's 1,600  passengers and  crew, through  careful                                                               
coordination with the cruise line,  the Canadian Coast Guard, and                                                               
local villages to ensure a safe  and productive outcome.  He said                                                               
there were numerous Coast Guard  units working alongside National                                                               
Guard and DoD  counterparts, as well as other  state agencies, to                                                               
conduct  exercise  Artic  Chinook, which  "simulated  the  forced                                                               
evacuation of a  cruise ship far from  major population centers."                                                               
Rear  Admiral McAllister  noted  that the  photographs from  that                                                               
exercise  are shown  on slide  5.   He  said this  was the  first                                                               
exercise  under   the  new  Arctic  Council   Search  and  Rescue                                                               
agreement,   with  numerous   international  observers   and  the                                                               
opportunity to  collaborate with  numerous entities and  test the                                                               
Coast Guard's interoperability and ability to deploy.                                                                           
12:36:28 PM                                                                                                                   
REAR ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER moved  on to  slide 6,  entitled "Arctic                                                               
Shield 2017: Force  Lay-Down," and said the Coast  Guard plans to                                                               
build  on the  events of  2016 and  further improve  its response                                                               
capabilities in the  Arctic Region.  He said the  Coast Guard has                                                               
plans  to:   deploy  two  MH-60  helicopters in  Kotzebue  again;                                                               
position  multiple  Coast  Guard cutters  offshore;  conduct  ice                                                               
rescue  training  in various  locations;  and  conduct oil  spill                                                               
response exercises  and training  in Dillingham  and Barrow.   He                                                               
said the  Coast Guard  does expect the  Crystal Serenity  to make                                                               
another  Northwest  Passage  trip  this  year,  and  he  said  he                                                               
understands there are additional cruise  ships that may be taking                                                               
similar voyages in the future.                                                                                                  
REAR  ADMIRAL MCALLISTER  announced  that  after working  closely                                                               
with  Alaska  Native  communities,  environmental  organizations,                                                               
federal  and  state  partners,  and  industry,  the  Coast  Guard                                                               
recently published its Port Access  Route Study, which proposes a                                                             
700-mile safe shipping  route through the Bering  Strait to avoid                                                               
environmentally  sensitive and  subsistence-critical  areas.   He                                                               
said in 2017  the Coast Guard will expand on  that work, with the                                                               
start of a  port access route study for the  Beaufort and Chukchi                                                               
Seas, and it  will coordinate with the Canadian  [Coast Guard] as                                                               
it begins a similar project in the Northwest Passage.                                                                           
REAR  ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER  emphasized the  importance  of  strong                                                               
partnerships  with  DoD,  federal,   and  state  governments  and                                                               
borough and  Native communities.   He expressed  appreciation for                                                               
the support  of the  State of Alaska  through its  involvement in                                                               
the events in which the  Coast Guard participates.  He concluded,                                                               
"We look forward to continuous  and ongoing opportunities to work                                                               
with  our partners  to preserve  Alaska's natural  resources from                                                               
threats to the environment, sovereignty,  and security, and raise                                                               
the awareness  of the  strategic importance  of Alaska's  role as                                                               
the nation's sole Arctic state as  we start our next 150 years of                                                               
service in this region."                                                                                                        
12:38:37 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGHES  offered  her   understanding  that  the  federal                                                               
administration  has  proposed  a  12 percent  cut  to  the  Coast                                                               
Guard's budget,  and she asked  Rear Admiral McAllister  what the                                                               
impact of  that might be.   Further, regarding the number  of ice                                                               
breakers that  Russia has, she  asked if  there are plans  in the                                                               
future for the  U.S. Coast Guard to acquire more  ice breakers in                                                               
Alaska's waters.                                                                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL MCALLISTER responded that  on Thursday of last week,                                                               
the  U.S.  Department  of  Homeland  Security  put  out  a  press                                                               
release,  which  indicated  that  Coast Guard  funding  would  be                                                               
sustained at  current levels, which would  allow the continuation                                                               
of  day-to-day   operations,  as   well  as  the   Coast  Guard's                                                               
investments in  infrastructure and  "to recapitalize  our fleet."                                                               
He said  the President's  FY 17 budget  includes $150  million to                                                               
begin the  design work for the  first heavy ice breaker  that the                                                               
Coast Guard  has built  in over  40 years.   The  anticipation is                                                               
that that  ice breaker will  be completed,  with the help  of the                                                               
U.S. Navy,  by 2023.   He  said the  Coast Guard  has recommended                                                               
that the nation own three  heavy ice breakers capable of breaking                                                               
ice in both Polar Regions, as well as three medium ice breakers.                                                                
12:40:37 PM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  COSTELLO asked  Rear Admiral  McAllister to  comment on                                                               
the absence of  the U.S. as a  signatory to the "Law  of the Sea"                                                               
treaty and how that may impact the work of the U.S. Coast Guard.                                                                
REAR ADMIRAL MCALLISTER answered  that all military services have                                                               
recommended  that  the U.S.  become  a  signatory to  the  United                                                               
Nations Convention on the Law of  the Sea (UNCLOS), which he said                                                               
is the basis  for the claims to the Arctic  Region that have been                                                               
submitted thus  far.   He said  one of  the practical  impacts is                                                               
that until the  U.S. becomes a signatory, it cannot  make a claim                                                               
for  the  Arctic Region.    Notwithstanding  that, the  U.S.  has                                                               
agreed  to adhere  to the  stipulations or  provisions of  UNCLOS                                                               
without  signing  it.    He  explained,  "And  so,  there  is  no                                                               
immediate  change in  the  way  that we  have  done business;  we                                                               
continue to interact  with other nations around the  globe on the                                                               
high seas under the provisions of  UNCLOS, even though we are not                                                               
a signatory."                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR  COSTELLO noted  that  she had  asked  that question  on                                                               
behalf of Representative Saddler.                                                                                               
12:42:38 PM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL  noted that the  Arctic Council would  be meeting                                                               
to change the gavel from one member  to another.  He asked if the                                                               
Coast Guard is involved in the  discussion [of that council].  He                                                               
then  asked  how  the  Coast   Guard  "stacks  up"  in  terms  of                                                               
communication related to navigation and search and rescue.                                                                      
REAR ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER answered  that the Coast  Guard supports                                                               
the Arctic  Council and has  created an Arctic Coast  Guard forum                                                               
under the  council to focus  on "maritime-related  issues amongst                                                               
the Arctic Council nations."   He said the Coast Guard commandant                                                               
is the  current chair of that  forum, but the next  chair will be                                                               
from Finland.   He  said the  Coast Guard  is involved  with both                                                               
governance bodies.   He  related that  from a  local perspective,                                                               
his job  is to localize those  things that are agreed  to amongst                                                               
the  Arctic  Council  or  the  Arctic Coast  Guard  Forum.    For                                                               
example, he  said the Arctic  Chinook mass rescue  operation that                                                               
was  conducted  was done  under  "the  Arctic search  and  rescue                                                               
REAR  ADMIRAL  MCALLISTER,  regarding  communications,  said  the                                                               
Coast Guard  has improved its communications,  which improves all                                                               
its  missions.    He  said  Alaska's  size  and  climate  creates                                                               
challenges working  in remote  locations, and  while improvements                                                               
have been  made, the Coast  Guard will try  to fill the  gaps and                                                               
continue  to   make  improvements.    He   said  an  "appropriate                                                               
communications capability"  is a  high priority before  the Coast                                                               
Guard, industry, or communities along  the North Slope or Western                                                               
Alaska will have a "significant maritime presence."                                                                             
12:45:17 PM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR KAWASAKI  noted that there  is more coastline  along the                                                               
state of  Alaska than in  the rest of  the United States,  and he                                                               
expressed appreciation to the Coast Guard for "keeping us safe."                                                                
12:46:05 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  began her  briefing, regarding  the Alaska                                                               
National  Guard,  with  a   PowerPoint  presentation  [hard  copy                                                               
available  in  the  committee  packet].     She  noted  that  the                                                               
progenitor of the National Guard -  the militia - has been around                                                               
since 1636,  longer than any  other military faction in  the U.S.                                                               
She said that  "organized militia" is the statutory  term for the                                                               
four  divisions:   the  Army  National  Guard, the  Air  National                                                               
Guard, the State Defense Force, and the Alaska Naval Militia.                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL  HUMMEL  referred   to  slide  2,  entitled  "DMVA                                                               
Mission," which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                
     To  provide  military  forces  to  accomplish  military                                                                    
     missions  in the  state or  around  the world;  provide                                                                    
     homeland security and  defense; emergency preparedness,                                                                    
     response,  and recover;  veterans  services; and  youth                                                                    
     military style training and education.                                                                                     
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL turned  to slide  3, entitled  "DMVA Vision                                                               
and Core Values."  She expressed  her belief in the importance of                                                               
establishing a shared vision supported  by core values.  She said                                                               
the vision  statement outlines "the  four major lines  of effort"                                                               
throughout the entire department, and  they are:  federal mission                                                               
assurance,   viable   Arctic   strategy,   emergency   management                                                               
capacity,  and  engagement with  Alaska  communities.   She  said                                                               
common  understanding  creates  efficiency in  terms  of  people,                                                               
equipment, and fiscal resources.                                                                                                
12:48:37 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL  HUMMEL directed  attention  to  slides 4  and  5,                                                               
entitled  "Alaska National  Guard in  the  News."   She said  the                                                               
Alaska  National  Guard  divested   the  legacy  C-130  fleet  on                                                               
Elmendorf "as  part of a  package where we received  ownership of                                                               
the  strategic airlift  platform  -  our C-17s."    She said  the                                                               
Alaska   National  Guard   is  partnering   internationally  with                                                               
Mongolia, Canada,  and Denmark for  training and exercises.   She                                                               
highlighted a  biathlon championship team.   She said  the Alaska                                                               
National  Guard  continued its  aviation  support  of the  Colony                                                               
Glacier  recovery operations  previously described  by Lieutenant                                                               
General  Wilsbach.   She  relayed that  the  National Guard  been                                                               
actively recognizing  soldiers that  have been overlooked  in the                                                               
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL described the  photographs on slide 5:  Army                                                               
Guard military police  and Air Guard security police  sworn in as                                                               
special  police  by  the Washington,  D.C.,  Metropolitan  Police                                                               
Department  to  assist  in  civilian   law  enforcement  for  the                                                               
President's  inauguration;  a  book  cover  aptly  titled  "Never                                                             
Quit," published  by a former Air  Guard "parajumper"; Lieutenant                                                             
Governor Byron Mallott with a  former Sergeant First Class Wesley                                                               
Aiken,  who has  served  Alaskans for  over  70 years,  including                                                               
currently as tribal representative at  age 90; and a gathering of                                                               
guard members  challenged to  lead the  initiative in  what Major                                                               
General Hummel called, "ethical fitness."                                                                                       
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL introduced Chaplain (Colonel) Rick Koch.                                                                   
12:51:41 PM                                                                                                                   
CHAPLAIN (COLONEL)  RICK KOCH,  Alaska National  Guard, testified                                                               
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     Following the times of troubles  experienced by the ...                                                                    
     Alaska National Guard, before the  end of 2014, General                                                                    
     Hummel  devised a  plan to  ensure the  proficiency and                                                                    
     effectiveness  of  the   military  professionalism  and                                                                    
     ethical fitness  within our organization.   Through her                                                                    
     contacts   at  the   national   level,   she  met   and                                                                    
     communicated  with  Rear  Admiral Margaret  Klein,  who                                                                    
     headed  the Secretary  of  Defense  Office of  Military                                                                    
     Professionalism at the Pentagon.                                                                                           
     General  Hummel charged  me  to lead  a  team from  our                                                                    
     organization to  be trained  at that  office.   Four of                                                                    
     us, to  include our senior listed  leader, Chief Master                                                                    
     Sergeant Paul Nelson, attended  a week-long training at                                                                    
     the   Secretary   of   Defense   Office   of   Military                                                                    
     Professionalism a year  ago.  Since that  time, we have                                                                    
     created  military professionalism  and ethical  fitness                                                                    
     curriculum,  engaged  numerous opportunities  to  share                                                                    
     the  material  and  entertain  dialogical  interchanges                                                                    
     with  personnel of  all ranks,  and one  month ago,  we                                                                    
     conducted a formal, two-day training  for all of our E-                                                                    
     6 -  that's Army  Guard staff  sergeants and  Air Guard                                                                    
     technical sergeants - and we  also had some guests from                                                                    
     the  active  duty,  as  well   as  the  [Alaska]  Naval                                                                    
     Noncommissioned  officers  are   the  backbone  of  the                                                                    
     organization, and E-6s  are in the middle  of the pack;                                                                    
     they  influence everyone  from  the  highest to  lowest                                                                    
     Our  objectives  were  to get  them  engaged  as  young                                                                    
     leaders  to  call  us  all  to  meet  professional  and                                                                    
     ethical   standards,  to   be  the   best  professional                                                                    
     military culture  anywhere.  So, living  and learning a                                                                    
     military  professionalism  never  rests.    Abiding  in                                                                    
     service  values,  just  like  exercising  for  physical                                                                    
     fitness, takes daily discipline and effort.                                                                                
12:53:51 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR  GENERAL HUMMEL  returned to  the PowerPoint,  to slide  6,                                                               
entitled "Federal Mission Assurance."   She said the Army and Air                                                               
National  Guard continues  to "train,  deploy,  operate, and  ...                                                               
return, as  part of our  federal mission sets."   She highlighted                                                               
some of  the exercises,  operations, and  missions listed  on the                                                               
slide:    Ice-X,  200  miles   north  of  Prudhoe  Bay;  training                                                               
Mongolian  forces  for  peace-keeping  operations  during  "Khaan                                                               
Quest"; Operation  Deep Freeze, which supported  National Science                                                               
Foundation  efforts  in  Antarctica; cargo  and  aircraft  moving                                                               
4,000 personnel; deployment of soldiers  and airmen in support of                                                               
"the war fight"; and 24/7 missions conducted.                                                                                   
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL  turned to slide 7,  entitled "Viable Arctic                                                               
Strategy."   She said, "Alaska is  what makes the U.S.  an Arctic                                                               
nation."    She  stated  that   the  Alaska  National  Guard  was                                                               
underrepresented  on DoD  working  groups  charged with  crafting                                                               
policy for  operations in  the Arctic.   Now, she  indicated, her                                                               
joint  staff  has  secured  membership   on  the  Office  of  the                                                               
Secretary of  Defense's working group,  as well as having  a seat                                                               
at  the  table on  U.S.  Northern  Command's Arctic  Capabilities                                                               
Working Group; therefore, [the Alaska  National Guard] can ensure                                                               
that Alaska  is recognized as  "a stakeholder in the  Arctic" and                                                               
Alaska's  interest  will be  "taken  into  account when  crafting                                                               
policies and identifying military requirements."                                                                                
MAJOR  GENERAL  HUMMEL  said the  Alaska  National  Guard  hosted                                                               
representatives  from nine  other state  National Guards  at Fort                                                               
Wainwright  and  Utkiavik for  the  first  National Guard  Arctic                                                               
Interest  Summit,  and  a  charter for  the  National  Guard  was                                                               
signed.    She  said,  "This organization  will  be  the  primary                                                               
developer for  the National Guard Arctic  capabilities and policy                                                               
across the country."                                                                                                            
12:56:38 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL continued to  slide 8,  entitled "Emergency                                                               
Management Capacity," which  she said is the line  of effort that                                                               
makes the  National Guard and  the rest of the  organized militia                                                               
"special."   She  explained that  the National  Guard has  both a                                                               
federal  and state  mission,  and "no  other  component has  this                                                               
requirement."  She said the  State Defense Force and Alaska Naval                                                               
Militia are  manned by "Alaskans  dedicated to  helping Alaskans,                                                               
especially  in the  greatest time  of  need."   She continued  as                                                               
     One  of our  major accomplishments  over the  last year                                                                    
     was  the  complete  revision  and  modernizing  of  the                                                                    
     fundamental documents for both  the State Defense Force                                                                    
     and the  [Alaska] Naval  Militia.   These organizations                                                                    
     now  have  better  defined standards  and  policies  to                                                                    
     support  the execution  of  their  state mission  sets.                                                                    
     Both  of these  groups, along  with the  National Guard                                                                    
     counterparts,  participated  in  last  year's  Wildfire                                                                    
     Response  and the  Homeland  Security exercise,  Alaska                                                                    
     Shield.  We also  continue assisting our partner nation                                                                    
     Mongolia   with   developing    their   own   emergency                                                                    
     management capacity,  through the  earthquake readiness                                                                    
     exercise  "GOBI WOLF  2016" and  a number  of bilateral                                                                    
12:57:46 PM                                                                                                                   
MAJOR GENERAL  HUMMEL turned  to slide  9, entitled  "Engage with                                                               
Alaska  Communities."   She  stated  that  community outreach  in                                                               
Alaska  is one  of the  Alaska National  Guard's most  satisfying                                                               
missions and honoring Alaska service  members is the best part of                                                               
that.   She  relayed  that  in 2017,  the  Kotzebue Qipqiña  Army                                                               
Aviation  Operations Facility  was named  after "former  adjutant                                                               
general  and the  army's first  Alaska Native,  two-star general,                                                               
John Schaeffer."                                                                                                                
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL noted, as  shown on slide 9, that volunteers                                                               
gave  over  30,000 hours,  which  she  said does  not  accurately                                                               
capture the  untold volunteer hours  put in by the  state militia                                                               
to serve communities and the  state.  She talked about "Operation                                                               
Santa Clause," which  is a community effort  to visit communities                                                               
during the holidays.   She noted that seating  is always limited,                                                               
but  an  option to  participate  is  to  volunteer to  help  wrap                                                               
presents and help  Santa, as did Lieutenant  Governor Mallott, as                                                               
depicted in another photo on slide 9.                                                                                           
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL highlighted  the final slide, entitled "YOUR                                                               
National  Guard,"  and  she  described   a  hypothetical  day  to                                                               
demonstrate how  Alaska's organized militia, in  concert with its                                                               
organized partners, is "always ready and always there."                                                                         
1:01:19 PM                                                                                                                    
NELSON   N.   ANGAPAK,   SR.,   via   teleconference,   expressed                                                               
appreciation for the work of  Major General Hummel, in particular                                                               
the programs that have impacted  rural Alaska.  He indicated that                                                               
in approximately 2006, 160 Alaska  Native members of the National                                                               
Guard were deployed  to Kuwait to provide  logistical support for                                                               
U.S. troops in Iraq, while  some were deployed to Afghanistan and                                                               
other battlefield  theaters.   He said, "Some  of them  came back                                                               
with issues  dealing with what  they experienced out there."   He                                                               
questioned  what kind  of reintegration  program is  available to                                                               
assist those trying to get back to their village life.                                                                          
1:02:51 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAPLAIN (COLONEL)  KOCH relayed  that there is  a "multi-faceted                                                               
care  team" through  family  programs, as  well  as chaplains  in                                                               
every  battalion.    He  noted that  [the  chaplains]  have  been                                                               
trained in  the matter of  intervention.  Further, he  said there                                                               
is  full-time psychological  help  through  a psychological  care                                                               
team that  meets monthly to ensure  a "wide net" and  "a net that                                                               
is not  torn in  any place,"  so that no  one falls  "through the                                                               
cracks."  He emphasized that  problems need to be shared, because                                                               
the  care team  is not  clairvoyant; however,  once problems  are                                                               
communicated,  the team  can  respond  quickly, efficiently,  and                                                               
CHAPLAIN  (COLONEL)   KOCH  advised  there  is   a  Forget-Me-Not                                                               
Coalition,  which covers  all service  members,  active duty  and                                                               
reserve,  in  all  branches.   The  coalition  provides  services                                                               
throughout  the  state,  with   the  help  of  businesses,  faith                                                               
communities,  health/mental health  communities that  have joined                                                               
the coalition  and promised  to serve and  aid serve  members and                                                               
families.  He indicated that  much of this is coordinated through                                                               
the Alaska National Guard, because  "we're always here and we can                                                               
keep the continuity going."                                                                                                     
1:04:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR GENERAL HUMMEL  thanked Mr. Angapak, Sr.,  for his advocacy                                                               
for Alaska veterans  and congratulated him on  his appointment as                                                               
a  public member  of the  Joint  Armed Services  Committee.   She                                                               
acknowledged  that  there  are over  75,000  veterans  living  in                                                               
Alaska who have  at least 150,000 dependent family  members.  She                                                               
said the  Office of  Veteran Affairs, within  DMVA, is  headed by                                                               
Verdie Bowen  and works to reach  out to all veterans  across the                                                               
state, recognizing that  those who are not doing  well need extra                                                               
support.   She estimated there  are just over 100  tribal veteran                                                               
representatives trained by the Office  of Veteran Affairs to help                                                               
veterans  negotiate "the  labyrinth maze  of veterans'  programs"                                                               
for  the benefits  and entitlements  that have  been earned,  and                                                               
those  representatives are  willing to  help "every  step of  the                                                               
way" so that no one is left behind.                                                                                             
1:07:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KAWASAKI thanked  each of the presenters  and, on behalf                                                               
of  the committee,  expressed appreciation  for their  service to                                                               
the country  and Alaska.  He  noted that the presenters  would be                                                               
available  for  a  press conference  in  the  Speaker's  Chambers                                                               
directly following the meeting.                                                                                                 
1:07:53 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the Joint                                                               
Armed Services Committee meeting was adjourned at 1:08 p.m.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
3.23.17 JASC Meeting Agenda.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
3.15.17 JASC March 23 - Commander Bios.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
3.17.17 JASC Biographies of Public Members.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
Updated - 23March2017 ALCOM JASC - PDF.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
23March2017 USARAK JASC - PDF.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
23March2017 USCG Briefing - JASC.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
23March2017 DMVA AKNG JASC.pdf JASC 3/23/2017 11:30:00 AM
23March2017 DMVA JASC