Friday, January 21, 2011

What was Commissioner/TAG Tom Katkus thinking?

In 2010, Commissioner DMVA/TAG Thomas H. Katkus decided to diminish the Alaska State Defense Force, the State’s 32 USC § 109(c) State Defense Force authorized under AS 26.05. The ASDF was removed from a constabulary role under AS 26.05.070 and effectively disarmed after years of a solid record of service without incident to the people and State of Alaska as an armed, State Military Police Constabulary unit.

In 2006, the ASDF served Alaskans during the floods of Houston and Valdez, and the fire response at Hooper Bay. The all-volunteer ASDF soldiers served as armed State Military Police Constabulary acting to prevent looting and to augment local police.

The National Guard had been called up for war duties.

National Guard Regulation (NGR) 10-4 demonstrates that the National Guard Bureau assumes a constabulary role for the State Defense Forces:

“5. Mission
a. The mission of a State Defense Force . . . is to provide an adequately trained and organized State military reserve force which would be under the exclusive control of the governor. It would be capable of accomplishing those State emergency responsibilities normally assigned to the National Guard, when that force is federalized or otherwise not available to the needs of the governor . . .
c. Potential missions:
(1) Assist civil authorities in the preservation of order, and protection of life and property.
(2) Meet such domestic emergencies as may arise within the State.
(3) Guard and protect critical industrial installations and facilities, as determined by the governor, when other means are deemed inadequate.
(4) Prevent or suppress subversive activities, in conjunction with, or in support of State or local law enforcement agencies.
(5) Under control of the governor, cooperate with Federal military authorities and forces engaged in active military operations or charged with internal security missions within the State.
(6) Assume control of State armories and property, provide security for any Federal property until relieved by proper authority, and assist in the mobilization of the National Guard when so directed by the governor.
(7)Perform other duties as may be assigned by the governor, under the constitution and laws of the state.”

6. Organization
. . . activities of State Defense Forces, as envisioned by this regulation, are supplemental to the State mission of the National Guard during peacetime and are considered to be of a constabulary nature and not that of combat forces. Organization under Tables of Organization and Equipment (TO/E) similar to military police or light infantry would most closely facilitate these anticipated missions . . . . Priority for any future Federal support that may be authorized will be given to those states whose Defense Force organization is considered most appropriate (by the Service Secretary) to accomplish the general missions outlined above.”

The Alaskan soldiers of the Alaska State Defense Force are all volunteers, serving without pay until called to State Active Duty. The soldiers of the ASDF are prior military, retired and serving police officers, professionals and journeyman tradesmen. They provide their own weapons, ammunition, field gear, uniforms, training and transportation.

To qualify as State Military Police Constables, they underwent a minimum of 120 hours of training in the ASDF’s Military Police Academy, attended 142 hours of additional training at drills yearly with an annual 8 hours of Law Enforcement recurrency training. The ASDF soldier was required to qualify with weapons annually, but many units conducted additional weapons and law enforcement training by donating extra time.

The federal government has started cutting back on the regular military, meaning a greater federal role for the National Guard.

This action to diminish the ASDF begs the question of who and what will act as a force multiplier for the National Guard and the State and local government police pursuant to AS 26.05.070 and AS 26.05.100?

As a result of the Commissioner, DMVA’s action against the ASDF, the State’s disaster response is unreasonably diminished.

Alaskans are not safer, because of what MG Katkus decided to do with the ASDF.

Call your legislator and the Governor and ask them why this was allowed to happen without a public hearing?