Briefing by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
COMMITTEE ON JOINT STATE VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
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08:03 AM -- Briefing by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
The joint committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Major General H. Michael Edwards, Adjutant General, Mr. Bill Conroy, Director of the Division of Veterans Affairs, Colonel Ed Phelka, Commander of the Colorado Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and Mr. George Thomas, Chairman of the Board of Veterans Affairs, briefed the committee on the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' activities pursuant to Joint Rule 25. Committee members received a packet of briefing slides, prepared by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (Attachment A). General Edwards first discussed the Army and Air National Guard highlights for 2008, including deployments to the Middle East and specific missions completed. General Edwards responded to questions regarding whose jurisdiction, state or federal, the National Guard operates under when deployed. General Edwards then provided a numeric breakout of force deployment, and discussed missions involving joint Army and Air National Guard participation.
General Edwards responded to questions regarding funding for duties performed during the Democratic National Convention, and the accounting for certain National Guard deployments. General Edwards then returned to briefing the committee on joint Army and Air National Guard activities in 2008. Discussion ensued regarding the National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force, including funding for the task force. General Edwards briefed the committee on the National Guard's family programs, and responded to questions regarding how moneys are used from the Military Family Relief Fund.
Discussion returned to the Counterdrug Task Force, and the specific activities and funding of the task force. Representative Lambert mentioned the Civil Air Patrol's role in counterdrug operations. General Edwards next briefed the committee on the department's Fiscal Year 2009-10 budget priorities. General Edwards responded to questions regarding the age of the department's various armories, and the location of the Denver armory. Discussion ensued regarding alternative sources of funding for restoring the older armories.
General Edwards continued briefing the committee on the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs' budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. General Edwards responded to questions regarding a plan to automate active duty pay for the department.
Col. Phelka briefed the committee on the status of the Civil Air Patrol and its infrastructure, personnel, and activities. Col. Phelka also discussed the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. Discussion ensued regarding the potential for personnel from the Civil Air Patrol to brief the legislature's Education committees on the cadet program and its anti-drug initiative. Col. Phelka then discussed the patrol's aerospace education program, and the patrol's locations.
Discussion ensued regarding the ability of the Civil Air Patrol to attract leadership and instructors, and the patrol's legislative leadership program.
Mr. Conroy briefed the committee on the Division of Veterans Affairs' activities, and discussed the division's highlights during 2008. Mr. Conroy then explained the trends in veterans health care.
Mr. Thomas briefed the committee on the activities and highlights of the Board of Veterans Affairs, and funding for the board's programs. Committee members received copies of the 2008 Annual Report of the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs (Attachment B). Mr. Thomas then updated the committee on certain Board of Veterans Affairs issues, including the status of the Trinidad State Nursing Home. Discussion ensued regarding the potential for scheduling further briefing time on the subject of veterans issues in the near future.
The joint committee adjourned.