Alaska’s Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner and Adjutant General for the National Guard forces of Alaska has taken the position that the Alaska National Guard forces are the Governor’s private play toy.
In MG Thomas H. Katkus’ insulated world of military speak and State bureaucracy reflecting the lofty, insulated and secure recesses of a gubernatorial appointment, it is the stated position of his leadership that Governor Sean Parnell is the first and last authority where the State’s National Guard forces are concerned. MG Katkus further believes that were the Alaska National Guard forces to be deployed on federal missions out of State, Alaska would be able to rely upon the National Guard forces of other States to act in lieu of Alaska’s National Guard forces for disaster response.
I guess Governor Sean Parnell, the patsy in this game, must feel very beneficient and magnanimous when the latest call up for Alaskan Army National Guard troops was delivered by the National Guard Bureau from Washington. Of course, as governor, Gov. Parnell surely had full authority to say no to the use of Alaska’s National Guard.
Wait, there is a “National” in National Guard. That implies that these forces are National and not State. Right? Or, so the Supreme Court has ruled in at least two cases of note stemming from then Pres. Ronald Reagan’s calling up National Guard forces in the early 80s.
The position that Alaska’s National Guard is under the sole authority of the Governor is simply incredible in the face of Dukakis v. United States andPepperich v. Dept. of Defense, both Supreme Court cases in the early 80s affirming the priority of the President of the United States over the use and disposition of the federal National Guard forces. What Uncle Sam pays for, Uncle Sam owns was the decision of the court. The National Guard are federal reserve forces, not the play toys of the governors.
It is interesting that the State and city most impacted by the attack on September 11, 2001 has decided that to rely upon an all-federal response to a threat or disaster is a fool’s errand:
“(NYC PD) Commissioner Ray Kelly tells CBS’ “60 Minutes” that after the Sept. 11 attacks, he decided the city couldn’t rely on the federal government alone. He set about creating the NYPD’s own counter-terrorism unit. He says the department is prepared for multiple scenarios and could even take down a plane.”
( http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/nypd-chief-police-plane-needed-14603929 )
Yet, MG Tom Katkus and Governor Sean Parnell, whom I doubt knows better, have put Alaska at convenience of a federal only response to any disaster or threat befalling Alaska.
By the disarming and diminishment as a “reserve of last resort” of the 32 USC Sec. 109(c) Alaska State Defense Force, Governor Parnell has made Alaskans less safe and managed to diminish the State’s resources with which to respond to any threat or natural disaster.
A nasty rumor keeps cropping up in my discussions regarding what happened and why with the diminishment and disarming of the 32 USC § 109(c) Alaska State Defense Force. The following has been alleged to have been attributed to MG Thomas Katkus:
“ASDF is nothing more than a bunch of ‘scabs’and they have to be disbanded.”
This alleged comment raises the specter of personal prejudice on the part of MG Thomas Katkus in his acts against the Alaska State Defense Force.
It has been alleged that MG Katkus’ conduct against the ASDF arose because of alleged personal and professional prejudices stemming all the way back to his Anchorage Police Dept. service in the 1980s with respect to the then proposed Concealed Carry Law legislation. APD’s position was that none should carry firearms but “professional police officers”.
It is believed by some that the excuse used to disarm the ASDF, who were trained volunteers, not full time cops, on the part of MG Katkus allegedly stems from this prejudice.
This decision to disarm the ASDF was made in a time of war and in the face of the fact that on 30 March, 2006, the Attorney General of the State opined that the ASDF personnel rated as State Military Police Constables met the requirements as peace officers under Alaska Statute 01.10.060 when called to State Active Duty pursuant to AS 26.05.070.
In disarming the ASDF, the Governor eliminated the only military force that was answerable to the State’s authority and which would be available for necessary State Active Duty in the absence of Alaska Army National Guard forces on federal missions.
In 2006, the Alaska State Defense Force was called to State Active Duty as an armed military constabulary pursuant to AS 26.05.070, because the Alaska Army National Guard was deployed out of State on federal missions.
MG Katkus serves a governor who is no stranger to allegations of abuse of power.
The controversy surrounding the appointments of former Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom and former Sen. Gene Therriault to his cabinet as his Military Advisor and his Oil and Gas Advisor, respectively, have been alleged to have been made in violation of Art. II § 5 of Alaska’s constitution. The controversy had the wind taken out of its sails with a questionable opinion from the State Attorney General Dan Sullivan who opined that it was okay to ignore the State Constitutional provisions at the Governor’s discretion and advantage. AG Sullivan was then appointed as Commissioner, Dept. of Natural Resources.
The decision to make Alaskans less safe by disarming and relegating the ASDF to a reserve of last resort was made in the face of an 8 year record of service without incident to the State as an armed military police constabulary with State police powers as an operational State military disaster response unit.
Who in their right mind would put the public at risk in a time of war by diminishing and disarming a viable, proven state military force? Governor Sean Parnell, MG Thomas Katkus, former Gov. Sarah Palin, and former LTG and Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell were responsible for this travesty.
I find it interesting that the City of New York does not feel that it can rely upon a federal response to defend the city from terrorist attack, yet Governor Sean Parnell believes that is exactly what the State of Alaska must do.
Where does that put Alaska with a Governor whose military leadership has decided to diminish State forces and to completely rely upon a federal response?
Who is right? The City of New York or Governor Parnell and MG Thomas Katkus?
I hope as an Alaskan that we do not find out.