Call to Order and Roll Call
The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, at 2:30 PM, at the Boone National Guard Center. Senator Albert Robinson, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Albert Robinson, Co-Chair; Senators Perry B. Clark, C.B. Embry Jr., Ernie Harris, Christian McDaniel, Dennis Parrett, Mike Wilson, and Max Wise; Representatives Linda Belcher, Regina Bunch, Tom Burch, Larry Clark, Tim Couch, Ron Crimm, Jeff Greer, Kenny Imes, James Kay, Martha Jane King, Donna Mayfield, David Meade, Terry Mills, Tim Moore, Rick G. Nelson, Tom Riner, Dean Schamore, Rita Smart, Jeff Taylor, and Russell Webber.
Guests: Brigadier General Steven P. Bullard, Colonel (Ret.) Mike Jones, Executive Director Kentucky Air National Guard; John Holiday, Executive Director, Mike Sunseri, Public Outreach Legislative Liaison, and Ronnie Ball, Director of Emerging Threats and Emerging Trends, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.
LRC Staff: Erica Warren, Jonathan Philpot, Lesley Nash, and Rhonda Schierer.
Representative King moved to approve the July 14, 2016, meeting minutes. Representative Couch seconded the motion. The motion carried with a voice vote.
Kentucky National Guard and Department of Military Affairs Update
Brigadier General Steven P. Bullard, greeted members and guests and announced that the Adjutant General, Stephen Hogan, was called to Washington D.C.. He apologized that he could not be at the meeting. The Adjutant General will give the KY National Guard and Department of Military Affairs’ update at the October meeting.
Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Update
Kentucky Office Homeland Security (KOHS) Executive Director, John Holiday, gave a PowerPoint presentation and update on KOHS. The PowerPoint presentation and other documentation are part of this official record in the Legislative Research Commission’s Library.
Prior to becoming the executive director of KOHS, Mr. Holiday had previous military experience including U.S. Special Operations Forces Advisor to East Africa, executive officer for U.S. Special Operations unit, counterintelligence special agent, and experience in threat and hazard mitigation and intelligence operations. He served in state government as a certified inspector general and public protection director of law enforcement, and was appointed to his current position in February of this year.
Mr. Holiday indicated that KOHS is an all-hazards fusion center. Hazards are defined as man-made or natural, while a threat is man-made only. KOHS has collaborated with Michael Dossett, Executive Director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, which is the operational or logistical piece of a hazard or event. KOHS receives information and intelligence from multiple entities. After making sure that the information is relative, timely, and accurate, KOHS produces intelligence reports for first responders in Kentucky and throughout the United States.
KOHS has clearly defined its mission in Kentucky, which is to identify all hazards that present threats to the Commonwealth. “KEVA” is a new acronym, coined to focus KOHS’ mission, and it stands for a Kentucky Essential Vulnerability Asset. A KEVA is a critical facility service located in the Commonwealth and surrounding areas, the loss or disabling of which would have a catastrophic impact affecting one or more of the department’s 16 identified critical infrastructure sectors in Kentucky.
Mr. Holiday said that his mission during his first six months as executive director and advisor for KOHS has been to reorganize the fusion center, streamline grant allocation protocol, have operational and strategic working groups, create a weekly threat brief to key leaders, have active aggressor and shooter training, create a vision beyond the current administration, develop a short, mid, and long-term strategies, and establish an enhanced public outreach and liaison network.
Approximately 70 percent of KOHS funding comes from federal funds and 80 percent of federal dollars go to Kentucky communities for homeland security grants. In FY 2017, there is a potential of a 55 percent reduction of funds awarded from the United States Department of Homeland Security even though there is still a great need for communication, first responder equipment, physical, and cybersecurity equipment.
Mr. Holiday discussed the Law Enforcement Protection Program, which he characterized as a successful program. Eighty percent of funds, mostly from the sale of confiscated firearms, have been granted to city, county, and state programs.
Mr. Holiday described the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center, which deals with international terrorism, cyberthreat analysis, real-time social media analysis, domestic terrorism, organized crime, geospatial analysis, and many critical infrastructure sectors. KOHS is the only agency that connects on local, state, and federal levels. KOHS has supported 49,000 first responders. It is KOHS’s mission to ensure that front line responders are able to securely perform their duties. Terror attacks are the “new normal” around the world. There have been 22 terror attacks from January 15, 2016 through July 16, 2016, and global terrorism is close to home. There are ISIS investigations in all 50 states, and there are more than 1,000 individuals with connections to terrorism. Since 2014, 92 individuals have been charged in the United States, and nearly 70 terrorist plots have been foiled since the 9/11 attack.
Current information shows that the most likely threat for Kentucky, based on KOHS analysis with state, local, and federal homeland security partners, historical data, and current trends, would be home grown violent extremists, military grade weapons or high powered rifles, improvised explosive devices, and readily available communication equipment and social media. Mr. Holiday indicated that Kentucky’s strategic critical vulnerabilities are not having a single statewide interoperability system, not having a single statewide public radio system, the lack of 911 system funding, and limited resources for evolving threats or hazards.
Mr. Holiday said that he is concerned about how to do more with less, how to keep pace with an ever-evolving threat environment, whether KOHS is applying lessons learned, whether first responders have adequate resources, and whether Kentucky can overcome divisiveness to solve problems. He hopes to have transparency and visibility to accomplish an increased awareness of KOHS functions, track all issues that affect public safety and well-being of the Commonwealth, develop Kentucky’s homeland security strategy, allocate grants based on critical need, support and partner with entities seeking to mitigate threats and hazards, and unify common visions that affect everyone in order to do everything possible to respond to all threats.
In response to a question from Representative Moore, Mr. Holiday said that he has SCI clearance if were to be a threat to the Commonwealth or surrounding areas.
In response to a question from Representative Burch, Mr. Holiday said that Kentucky’s interoperability is not sufficient for a catastrophe.
In response to a question from Representative Belcher, Mr. Holiday requested that legislators educate constituents about KOHS, and he wants legislators and stakeholders to visit and learn about the fusion center.
In response to a question from Representative Smart, Mr. Holiday said that military bases have their own strategic planning. The fusion center works with Fort Campbell and Fort Knox if needed.
Brigadier General Steve Bullard invited members to tour the new Emergency Operation Center or the new state-of-the art Army Aviation Storage and Command Facility.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.