I, Bill Walker, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24, Constitution of the State of Alaska and AS 44.19.145(c), establish the Governor’s Alaska Military History Museum Advisory Task Force (Task Force).
Since before statehood, Alaska and Alaskans serving in the military have played a significant role in the defense of the United States. Due to Alaska’s geo-strategic significance, it has always played a key role in military operations, which is only likely to expand in the future. The missile interceptor system at Fort Greely is currently charged with protecting the entire U.S. from inbound missiles. Alaska is also home to more than 70,000 veterans, the highest per capita percentage of veterans in the nation.
Capturing and preserving Alaska’s rich military history, present day activities, and our future roles is vital. It is important for future generations to appreciate this rich and diverse heritage and recognize accomplishments such as the crucial role of Alaska Native peoples’ in the Alaska Territorial Guard, the Alaska Scouts, and the Alaska National Guard, to include those on active duty; who were and are, instrumental in the defense of our nation.
Other major components include how Alaska Native peoples were interned in Southeast Alaska during WWII; and the role military soldiers, specifically African-American soldiers, played in the building of the Alaska-Canada (Alcan) Highway – a project often referred to as the Road to Integration in the Army.
Unknown to many Americans, Alaska’s Aleutian Islands were the only part of North America to endure prolonged enemy occupation by the Empire of Japan during World War II.
Additionally, under WWII’s Lend Lease Act, the United States provided the Soviet Union with nearly 8,000 aircraft, flown 7,900 miles from Montana to Fairbanks, via the Alaska-Siberia Route to the Eastern Front.
Military stories and artifacts of significant historical value can be found throughout Alaska. It is important to preserve this history, memorialize Alaskan involvement, and honor those who have sacrificed so much, who continue to serve today, and who will serve into the future.
Purpose and Duties
The Task Force shall serve as an advisory panel to the Governor and will conduct research and outreach to evaluate and propose options for consolidating efforts to preserve Alaska’s military heritage and history. Duties of the Task Force will include (but are not limited to):
- Research other existing or planned efforts to capture and preserve Alaskan military history.
- Facilitate the coordination of all known efforts to eliminate redundancy and enhance efficiency.
- Conduct an inventory of sites and artifacts of military significance.
- Facilitate the collection of appropriate oral histories.
- Provide recommendations for a coordinated effort to establish an Alaska Military History Museum, to include possible location(s) and governance structure(s).
- Research funding opportunities, to include public/private partnerships and military options, to support the construction and ongoing operation of museum sites and facilities.
The Task Force will provide a written status report to the Governor on a semi-annual basis, beginning October 1, 2018. Initial findings and recommendations will be due on or before October 1, 2019. A final written report will be submitted on or before June 30, 2020.
The Task Force will consist of up to eleven (11) public members, who are appointed by and who serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
Recruitment efforts for these public members shall include (but are not limited to) veterans, veteran organizations, educators, military historians, and enthusiasts, as well as museum professionals and archivists.
The Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the Commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, the Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development, the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, or their designees, shall serve as non-voting members to provide background and technical support. The Governor may appoint additional non-voting members at the Task Force’s request for additional technical support.
The Governor will appoint the Chairperson of the Task Force.
A majority of appointed voting members of the Task Force constitutes a quorum for conducting business.
Consistent with law and available appropriations, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities shall provide necessary administrative support to the Task Force using existing personnel and monetary resources.
The Task Force may set operating procedures as bylaws and establish committees as it considers appropriate. Committees may include individuals who are not members of the Task Force.
The Task Force shall hold a meeting at least once per quarter; with additional meetings authorized at the call of the chair, or at the call of three members. Telephonic and video conferencing will be the primary methods of meeting to minimize travel expenses. Meetings of the Task Force and any committee formed by the Task Force shall comply with AS 44.62.310 – 44.62.319 (Open Meetings Act). Records are subject to inspection and copying as public records under AS 40.25.100 – 40.25.295 (Alaska Public Records Act).
Task Force members do not receive compensation as members of the Task Force; however, per diem and travel expenses authorized for boards and commissions under AS 39.20.180 are authorized for members of the Task Force who are not State, federal, or local government employees. Per diem and travel expenses for a member of the Task Force who is a representative of a government agency are the responsibility of that agency.
This Order takes effect immediately, and sunsets on June 30, 2020.
Dated this 21st day of April, 2018.