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h_sa_2018a_2017-12-21t09:05:41z0 Hearing Summary




PUBLIC
BILL SUMMARY For SMART ACT PRESENTATION, DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

JOINT COMMITTEE COMMITTEE ON JOINT STATE VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Date Dec 21, 2017      
Location RM 271



SMART Act Presentation, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs - Committee Discussion Only

09:06:25 AM  
Representative Foote called the meeting
to order.  A meeting agenda, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
Performance Plan for FY 2017-18, and Department of Military and Veterans
Affairs Annual Performance Evaluation (Attachments A, B, and C) were distributed
to the committee.  Major General Michael Loh, Adjutant General, introduced
himself to the committee.  He provided an overview of the Department
of Military and Veterans Affairs and provided a handout to the committee
(Attachment D).  He reviewed the organizational structure of the department.
 Major General Loh discussed the Division of the Colorado National
Guard, including the training and deployment of Colorado National Guard
members.  He reviewed information about the High Altitude Mountain
Training Initiative.
09:16:50 AM  
Major General Loh answered questions about
the department's interactions with the Department of Homeland Security.
 He referenced the new space control squadron at Peterson Air Force
Base.  He discussed how the Colorado National Guard assisted with
wildfires and floods in Colorado, as well as hurricane relief in other
states and territories.  He responded to questions about the involvement
of the Colorado National Guard with wildfires in other states.
09:28:06 AM  
Major General Loh discussed the Division
of Veteran Affairs.  He discussed the veterans service officers, grants
provided by the division, and the cemeteries operated by the division.
 He discussed the Division of Civil Air Patrol, including its flood
and fire watch and efforts to work with youth on STEM education and the
CyberPatriot Competition.
09:32:29 AM  
Mickey Hunt, Deputy Executive Director,
answered questions about assisting veterans with health services.  He
discussed the challenges veterans in rural areas have accessing behavioral
health services.  He discussed the role of veterans service officers
in assisting veterans in accessing services.  
09:35:45 AM  
Major General Loh reviewed the department's
FY 2018-19 budget requests outlined on page 8 of the handout.  He
discussed the budget request for staffing for the Grand Junction Veterans
One Stop Office to manage a facility serving veterans and their families
on the Western Slope.  He reviewed the department safety program budget
request that will provide training, materials, and protective equipment
for field maintenance technicians to ensure safety.
09:40:58 AM  
In response to a questions, Mr. Hunt and
Major General Loh discussed the Grand Junction Veterans One Stop Office.
 Mr. Hunt discussed how the efforts of the Department of Military
and Veterans Affairs to provide identification cards to veterans help veterans
access federal funds and health care services.
09:57:10 AM  
Major General Loh discussed the department's
strategic performance initiatives outlined on page 9 of the handout.  He
discussed suicide and mental health assistance for military personnel,
and increasing the number of soldiers and airmen who access mental health
services.  He discussed efforts to decrease the number of high risk
mental health cases occurring with department personnel.  He discussed
improving the veteran's customer service experience over a longer time
span and plans to conduct a new survey about interactions with county veterans
service officers.
10:03:26 AM  
Major General Loh reviewed the 11 LEAN
projects undertaken by the department that are outlined on page 10 of the
handout.  He stated the LEAN projects have resulted in $111,000 in
savings.  He reviewed the in-progress and planned LEAN projects, which
include human resources on-boarding, accounting operations, training management,
military support operations, and the Department of Military and Veterans
Affairs call-in system.
10:08:41 AM  
No witnesses testified on the presentation.
 The committee took a brief recess.