Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Jack Westwood, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, Joey Pendleton, Dan "Malano" Seum, Kathy W. Stein, Katie Kratz Stine, Mike Wilson, and Ken Winters; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Tom Burch, Mike Cherry, Larry Clark, Leslie Combs, Myron Dossett, Bill Farmer, David Floyd, Jim Glenn, Jeff Greer, Jimmie Lee, Terry Mills, Tim Moore, Fred Nesler, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Sal Santoro, Rita Smart, John Tilley, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests: Brigadier General John W. Heltzel, Director, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management and Deputy Commander, Colonel William A. Denny, Director of Operations, Major General Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General, Kentucky National Guard (KNG).
Representative Burch moved to approve the September minutes. Senator Wilson seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
Representative Glenn read a resolution in memory and honor of Specialist Brandon Scott Mullins. Representative Pullin moved to adopt the resolution, Representative Combs seconded the motion, and the motion was adopted.
Kentucky Department of Military Affairs Update
Major General Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General, KNG, gave a PowerPoint presentation on several aspects of the KNG. Gen. Tonini discussed dual purpose capabilities of the NG and stated that soldiers are being deployed, and the guardsmen are being called upon to provide services to the people of the Commonwealth which include transportation, truck assets, medical assets, engineering, and military police. Gen. Tonini added that 85 percent of the guardsmen are not full-time soldiers.
Gen. Tonini discussed the KNG mobilization timeline for 2011-2014. He stated that in 2012 and 2013, KNG deployments will be up to 2,000 soldiers mobilized across the world.
Gen. Tonini discussed specific teams within the KNG, including the Agribusiness Development Teams (ADT), Civilian Support Team, and the Initial Response Hub. The Kentucky specific operations include Emergency Management, Bluegrass Station, and the Kentucky Logistics Operations Center. Gen. Tonini stated that the 201st Engineer Battalion received the Valorous Unit Award. This award is the equivalent of the individual Silver Star Award. It is the first time in Kentucky history that a guard unit has received this award.
Col. William A. Denny gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Kentucky National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Operations and the 41st WMD-Civil Support Team (WMD-CST). Col. Denny stated that the mission of the 41st WMC-CST is to support civil authorities at domestic incident sites by identifying CBRNE agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, and advising on response measures. The 41st WMD-CST supports the Governor and Incident Commander, operates only in the U.S., uses non-military equipment, has 22 full-time personnel, consists of both Army and Air guardsmen, has 15 military specialties, and is interoperable with civil responders.
In response to a question from Senator Pendleton, Col. Denny stated that Breckinridge County hospital reported a suspicious odor that caused some staff and patients nausea. A CST unit was called, which discovered that the odor was caused by a diesel fuel spill in the vicinity of the HVAC and it was secured.
Gen. Tonini stated that the KNG has ongoing projects at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Kentucky, and at the Harold L. Disney Training Center in Artemus, Kentucky. The Owensboro Readiness Center has broken ground, and the Burlington Readiness Center should be up and going within 18 months. Gen. Tonini stated that frequent deployments, citizen-soldier turned active duty resources, and family financial stress, are some of the challenges facing support resources. He stated that 98 percent of funding is from the federal government and that funding is in jeopardy and funding for Department of Defense (DOD) programs will be cut significantly. He also stated that a Youth ChalleNGe Program in Harlan County will open in July 2012.
Gen. Tonini discussed updates on the Kentucky Military Family Assistance Trust Fund (MFAST). He stated that the MFAST is a financial safety net for the Kentuckyís military families which was funded by the legislature as a way of helping deployed soldiers in an emergency kind of situation. The MFAST criteria changed some this year to help with things that were not feasible within the original configuration. Gen. Tonini added that the program still has good funding and has been used extensively in the last six months.
Gen. Tonini discussed the Kentucky National Guard Memorial. The memorial will be constructed at the entrance to the Boone National Guard Center to honor all Kentucky guardsmen who have served in the modern Kentucky National Guard, from March 1912 to present. The total cost of the memorial is estimated to be $928,000. The unmet need is approximately $508,000. The KNG is looking to raise money for the memorial via private donations. There have been 346 people identified to date including the 17 that lost their lives in the Global War on Terrorism.
In response to a question from Representative Glenn, Gen. Heltzel stated that there is an automatic activation of troops when an earthquake is at a 6.0 level or higher.
Gen. John W. Heltzel gave a PowerPoint presentation on the National Level Exercise (NLE) that various people participated in that used an earthquake along the New Madrid premise. The threat zone for the New Madrid earthquake centers on Western Kentucky. Gen. Heltzel stated that Kentucky hosted the National Level Exercise coordinated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for five days in May. The NLE scenario involved an earthquake of up to a 7.8 magnitude. The New Madrid Fault area includes four FEMA regions and there are 15 federal emergency support functions spanning eight states. The NLE provided the participating states not only an opportunity to test their plans, but also to work with Virtual USA, a federally supported system to provide cross-jurisdictional information sharing. The Governor and all cabinet members went to the Boone Center and received the earthquake response plan brief and an update specifically on the response on the day of the NLE. The Governor, General Tonini, and Gen. Heltzel video teleconferenced with the White House and seven surrounding states to let the federal government know what they would need to properly respond.
Gen. Heltzel stated that bringing the private sector back online during an emergency is key for critical information and meeting the needs of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The private sector contacted the National Guard wanting to get help in protecting their citizens and businesses, and they set up a system that allows businesses to register in advance to assist in an emergency.
Gen. Heltzel stated that one of the big lessons learned during the ice storm in 2009 for the Commonwealth was that there was absolutely no one working in resource management. During the NLE they set up multiple groups that formed a task force of over 50 people that managed how to provide the daily requirements for a potential evacuee mission of over 120,000 people. Gen. Heltzel encouraged a plan to create a system of redundant communications focused on satellite communications and portable generator solutions.
Gen. Heltzel gave an update on the Golden Alert System which was enacted by the General Assembly in 2008. The system attempts to aid in the rescue of impaired adults and individuals with organic brain syndromes. Gen. Heltzel pointed out that the crucial act is the reporting of a missing adult. Gen. Heltzel described several cases in 2011 which could have resulted in a better ending if there was a search done more rapidly. People with this impairment are identified, there are pictures available on them, and as soon as they are not where they are supposed to be, the process is started to find them. Gen. Heltzel presented some recommendations from the emergency management community that would be helpful in improving the system: (1) making sure long-term health care facilities and their employees understand the requirements of managing impaired adults and a photograph is on file; (2) improving the screening process to make sure patients are identified correctly; (3) removing the exemption given to long-term health care providers under KRS 39F.180 for speedy reporting of individuals deemed to be missing from the facility; (4) placing video cameras at all entrances and exits of health care facilities; and (5) offering regular training regarding the requirement for early notification of the County Emergency Management Director and County Search and Rescue Coordinator when notified of a missing person.
In response to a question from Representative Glenn, Gen. Heltzel stated that he did not think that the National Guard should be trained along with the policemen, firemen, and EMTs to receive dementia and Alzheimerís training due to time constraints, however; the first responder community needs to understand the issue and the communications links and bridge the gaps to meet the need.
In response to a question from Co-Chair Pullin, Col. Denny stated that the CERFP can report to industrial sites in Kentucky if there is an accident. He stated that it can respond to natural or manmade emergencies. Gen. Heltzel added that due to the distance of travel in for the CERFP, the local fire and rescue are the ones that would ultimately respond to hazards unless the event exceeds the local ability to respond.
In response to a question from Senator Wilson, Gen. Heltzel stated that the biggest threat would be something flying in on an airplane and spreading very quickly, secondly a terrorist threat with a low yield nuclear capability, and thirdly, the chemical stockpile in Madison County.
In response to a question from Representative Riner, Gen. Heltzel stated that Emergency Management and the National Guard are preparing themselves to manage an incident without computers and modern communications. Gen. Tonini added that the Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Management are expanding due to cobbled grants and federal monies without an allocation from the General Assembly to protect issues through modernization.
In response to a question from Senator Stein, Gen. Tonini stated that there is a Kentucky Code of Military Justice that needs to be rewritten because it has not been revised since 1986. Steve Bullard stated that the National Guard Bureauís legal office has developed a model state code of military justice that can be used as a basis for the update.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.