Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 3rd Meeting

of the 2017 Interim


<MeetMDY1> August 25, 2017


Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> 3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on<Day> Friday,<MeetMDY2> August 25, 2017, at<MeetTime> 2:00 PM, in<Room> the Radcliff Veterans Center. Representative Tim Moore, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Representative Tim Moore, Co-Chair; Senators, Perry B. Clark, Ernie Harris, Dennis Parrett, Whitney Westerfield, Will Coursey, Jeffery Donohue, Jim DuPlessis, Chris Fugate, Jeff Greer, Chris Harris, Mark Hart, Dan Johnson, DJ Johnson, Donna Mayfield, Brandon Reed, Rob Rothenburger, Dean Schamore, and Walker Thomas.


Guests: Air Force Sr. Master Sergeant Keary J. Miller; General Norman Arflack, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs; Mark Bowman, Executive Director, Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers; Israel Ray, Administrator, Radcliff Veterans Center; COL Patrick N. Kaune, Garrison Commander, Fort Knox; Richard Walton, DAV, VFW; and Corey Elder, House Leadership.


LRC Staff: Erica Warren, Jessica Zeh, Jonathan Philpot, and Rhonda Schierer.

Senator Parrett moved to adopt the July 13, 2017, meeting minutes. Representative Greer seconded that motion. The minutes were adopted.


Pledge of Allegiance

Ralph Reese, 96 year old WWII Veteran, led the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Distinguished Veteran

Keary J. Miller, Sr. Master Sergeant, testified about his career in the Air Force and his tour and survival on Takur Gar. Mr. Miller was the first survivor to be awarded an Air Force Cross for his heroism in 2002’s Operation Anaconda. Chairman Moore presented him with a distinguished veteran coin for his remarkable heroism, dedication, and service.


Radcliff Veterans Center and the Veterans Center Program

General Norman Arflack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA), gave a PowerPoint presentation on veterans’ cemeteries, nursing facilities, and KyVets, KDVA’s newest program. Commissioner Arflack discussed the veterans’ cemeteries and stated that there are a total of 11,123 veterans and their dependents buried in the veterans cemeteries across Kentucky. He described the cemetery expansion projects for the Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville. A $361,841.00 contract was awarded to C & C Contracting which was $93,406.00 below the total grant offer. The Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central in Radcliff had a $3,610,000.00 contract awarded to JAVE, LLC and was $812,250 below the total grant offer.


Commissioner Arflack testified about the Radcliff Veterans Center (RVC). On May 9, 2017, the first veteran was admitted to the RVC; on May 25, the facility was licensed and certified for Medicare and Medicaid participation, and as of August 24 there were 22 veterans living at there. Commissioner Arflack invited all members of the committee to the November 9, 2017 dedication of the RVC, when it will be officially named the Carl M. Brashear Radcliff Veterans Center. A press release and invitations are being developed.


Commissioner Arflack discussed the community living center (CLC) model versus the KDVA traditional veterans nursing facility and said that there should be comparative data by the end of the calendar year. Oregon has shared its comparative data after one year of full operations, and the CLC model is still financially feasible.


Commissioner Arflack discussed the Kentucky Veterans Employment, Training, and Support (KyVETS), KDVA’s newest program. KyVETS provides resources and support to assist veterans in gainful employment and training services. Kelli Carter Hogan directs the program. She has extensive experience with regard to veteran employment and a thorough understanding of the barriers they face in finding employment.


Mark Bowman, Executive Director, Office of Kentucky Veterans Centers, discussed funding issues for the State Veterans Home construction program. FY 2018 has $90 million dollars budgeted. Only 10 projects on the current list will be funded. The VA will not provide extra funding to decrease the backlog in the foreseeable future according to Secretary Shulkin. Mr. Bowman explained the project specific budget concerns and the Bowling Green project timeline and recommendations. SB 13 was enacted March, 2017, and the August 1, 2017 deadline cannot be met. August 1, 2018 is most likely the first opportunity for priority one consideration, and August 1, 2019 is the most realistic timeline for priority one consideration.


            Fort Knox Briefing

            Colonel Patrick N. Kaune, Fort Knox Garrison Commander gave a PowerPoint presentation and overview of Fort Knox & the U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Knox. Colonel Kaune discussed the Fort Knox “Gold Standard” Team. The Senior Commander is MG Christopher P. Hughes, U.S. Army Cadet Command, and the Garrison Commander is COL Patrick Kaune, US Army Garrison – Fort Knox.


COL Kaune stated that Fort Knox has an estimated workforce and other supported population of 90,981 within 40 miles. The estimated transient student and support cadre population is 28,325 students and 6,000 cadre in FY 2017. The estimated total annual economic impact of Fort Knox is $2.6 billion dollars. COL Kaune shared the investments that Fort Knox has made for soldiers and their families’ well-being. Over $1.6 billion has been invested since 2005 to improve the infrastructure and facilities. Forty-five percent of the Garrison’s annual operations budget is used to provide soldier and family well-being services and programs on Fort Knox. Some of the investments are Army family housing, schools, a tactical unit complex, gym and pool renovations and expansions, commissary enhancements, a tactical unit complex with a dining facility, company operations facilities, motor pool enhancements, consolidated barracks and a warrior transition battalion with a dedicated soldier and family assistance center, and 112 Americans with Disability Act compliant suites for 224 soldiers.


            COL Kaune discussed installation energy efficiency at Fort Knox and program objectives to decrease consumption, increase use of renewables, and have secure energy sources. Fort Knox invested $400 million in energy efficiency in FY 96 – FY 2017. The results have reduced energy consumption. There are over 50 energy star certified buildings, improving comfort and indoor air quality.


            COL Kaune discussed the ranges and training areas and capacity and capabilities. Fort Knox has 55,846 acres of range and impact areas as well as specialized capabilities including a bridge site, obstacle course, and aerial drop zones. Fort Knox is the third most utilized live range with specialized capabilities in the U.S.


            Other Business

            Israel Ray, Administrator at the Radcliff Veterans Center announced that members were welcome to tour the center after the meeting.


            There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.