The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Seniors, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Monday, August 18, 2008, at 1:00 PM, in Louisville at the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Senator Elizabeth Tori, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Elizabeth Tori, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Perry B. Clark, Carroll Gibson, Denise Harper Angel, Joey Pendleton, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Sheldon E. Baugh, Larry Belcher, Tom Burch, Dwight D. Butler, Larry Clark, Tim Couch, Ron Crimm, Bill Farmer, Jeff Greer, Tim Moore, Fred Nesler, Steve Riggs, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Steven Rudy, Sal Santoro, Charles Siler, Ancel Smith, John Tilley, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests: Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Kakaras, Naval Surface Warfare Center and Mike Vowels, Naval Surface Warfare Center.
LRC Staff: Erica Warren, CSA, Mustapha Jammeh, Andrew Coyle, Clint Newman, and Rhonda Schierer.
Co-Chair Tori welcomed members and began the meeting by asking Senator Pendleton, Representative Siler, and Representative Couch read three Committee Resolutions honoring the following soldiers who lost their lives in the Global War on Terrorism: Specialist Sergio S. Abad, Specialist William L. McMillan III, and Sergeant Estell “Lee” Turner. She asked the committee to observe a moment of silence to honor the memories of these fallen soldiers. All of the resolutions were unanimously adopted by voice vote.
Co-Chair Tori called upon Lieutenant Commander Nicholas Kakaras and thanked him for having the Committee at the Naval Surface Warfare Center and asked him to proceed with a power point presentation on the Guns Department Organization. Lieutenant Kakaras gave a brief summary of his 23 years with the Navy and introduced Mike Vowels, Assistant Director. Lieutenant Kakaras started his power point presentation and explained that the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) was formally known as the Naval Ordinance Station and that the NSWC has reduced the number of employees from 2000 to 200 due to decisions made during Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). He stated that integrating, testing, evaluating, and providing life-cycle engineering and logistics for today’s and tomorrow’s surface warfare systems is the mission of the NSWC. He added that their vision is to be the first choice for innovative engineering and logistics solutions. He added that their goal is to obviously prevent “Resolutions” and to keep the Navy #1 in the world by being one team, one fleet, with one mission.
Lieutenant Kakaras described the Guns Department Major Programs and described all the various gun systems that they provide. These consist of expert acquisition, logistics, and engineering technical oversight for major caliber gun systems, medium and minor caliber gun systems, and decoy launching systems. Details of these gun systems are a part of this record.
Lieutenant Kakaras described the demographics of the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Gun Department staff. He stated that there are 6 military staff and 194 civilians and that 19.9 percent are retirement eligible. All positions will be transferred to either New Jersey or California by 2011 as part of the center’s closure, meaning most will opt for retirement.
Lieutenant Kakaras finished his power point presentation by briefly describing the Business Base including funding and appropriation sources, broken down by programs served and business trends for products provided at NSWC.
Co-chair Tori asked members if they had questions.
Representative L. Clark asked Lieutenant Kakaras if the war comes to closure would it impede the NSWC’s employment. Lieutenant Kakaras said that activity has increased due to the current war and when activities cease in war, there will be a decrease in only a very limited area. They will take those resources and redeploy them into research, development, and engineering. Lieutenant Kakaras added that one of the hardest parts of any weapon system is to keep it in service.
Representative Moore inquired about the facility closing in 2011 and if it will be relocated in New Jersey. Lieutenant Kakaras stated that the facility in Kentucky will be closing in 2011 and will relocate in New Jersey. Representative Moore expressed his interest in the employees of the NSWC and encouraged them to seek positions in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Lieutenant Kakaras stated the number of positions to remain is still yet to be determined, and those eligible to retire probably will retire, but they are working with other military establishments such as Fort Knox.
Representative Pullin commended Lieutenant Kakaras and thanked him for his presentation. She asked him if they are in cooperation with research in the universities. Lieutenant Kakaras stated that they recruit summer help for temporary positions from the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, and other state universities.
Representative Burch asked what was the purpose of moving. Lieutenant Kakaras stated that BRAC has looked at all 4 sources (Army, Marines, Air force, Navy) and that this will be the first step for the Navy to integrate into a military environment and that the Department of Defense will be guns and weapons for all.
Lieutenant Kakaras invited the committee to join him for a brief tour of the Naval Surface Warfare Center immediately following the meeting.
Co-chair Tori spoke briefly on the Executive Order 2008-510 and told members that a copy was in their folders.
Co-chair Tori stated in other business that if members had an issue or bill to present it to staff and the two chairs.
Representative Moore announced that the administration changed its policy regarding flags being lowered and that they will be half staff on the day servicemen or service women were buried. He added that there was concern among veterans that many would not be honored due to home of record. He stated that now, anyone who departs America to defend our freedom will be honored even if they serve at a Kentucky base no matter where there home of record is.
Co-chair Pullin reminded members that veterans issues would be addressed at the September 4th Interim Joint Committee meeting in Frankfort.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.