Location: RM 271
SMART Act Presentation, DMVA
COMMITTEE ON JOINT STATE VETERANS & MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
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09:06 AM -- SMART Act Presentation, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No witnesses testified on the presentation. The committee took a brief recess.