Governor Sean Parnell signed Administrative Order 260, extending the Alaska Military Force Advocacy and Structure Team (AMFAST). The governor also reappointed the team's members.
First created by administrative order in 2009, AMFAST works to provide recommendations to the governor on how best to retain and build on the state's current military force capability. Several notable projects have emerged from the group's recommendations, including funding for the Tanana River bridge, rail transportation near Port Mackenzie, and the Kodiak Launch Complex managed by the Alaska Aerospace Corporation.
"Alaska is home to some of the best military training grounds in the world, and our geo-strategic advantage is second to none," said Governor Parnell. "AMFAST will continue to ensure that Alaska plays a vital role in defending our nation."
The members of AMFAST are: General Thomas Katkus, General Patrick Gamble, General Joseph Ralston, Major General Mark Hamilton, Rear Admiral James Underwood, Loren Lounsbury, Jim Dodson, and John Katz.
General Katkus currently serves as the adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard and the commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. A lifelong Alaskan, Katkus served as captain of the Anchorage Police Department for 21 years, and with the Alaska National Guard for 33 years.
General Gamble currently serves as president of the University of Alaska. He retired after serving as the top Air Force commander in the Pacific region and has also worked as the president and CEO of the Alaska Railroad Corporation.
General Ralston served for 37 years in the U.S. Air Force, most notably as Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO, and as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's second highest ranking military officer.
Major General Mark Hamilton served for 31 years in the U.S. Army where he retired as the head of Army recruiting. During his career of military service, he also was responsible for negotiating an end to the 12 year civil war in El Salvador.
Real Admiral Underwood has worked as a federal contractor, providing engineering and support services for the past six years. He is currently a vice president for business development with URS Federal Services, Inc., and prior to that, worked as a vice president for EG&G Technical Services Inc., a subsidiary. Underwood retired after 33 years of service with the U.S. Coast Guard, having achieved the rank of rear admiral as well as district commander of the 17th Coast Guard District.
Lounsbury is the chairman of International Management Group, a company that provides consulting services to international trade related businesses. Lounsbury is a former commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development for the State of Alaska, and a former chairman of the board of the Alaska Railroad Corporation.
Dodson currently serves as the president and CEO of the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation. A businessman and lifelong resident of Fairbanks, Dodson also served in the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam.
Katz has served the State of Alaska in a variety of roles for more than 40 years, including as the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, and the director of the Office of the Governor of Alaska in Washington, D.C. Katz is appointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public.
Administrative Order 260 is available at http://gov.state.ak.us/admin-orders/260.html.