SACRAMENTO — Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), chair of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, was appointed to a new Military Advisory Council on March 28 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (Rafu Shimpo photo)

“I would like to thank Gov. Brown for his vision in establishing the council and for this appointment,” said Muratsuchi. “I very much appreciate the support of Assembly Speaker [John] Pérez in recommending me. This is a historic opportunity for California to take a proactive stance in this time of transition for the nation’s military.”

The 2013 Department of Defense (DoD) budget included a request to establish a new Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) for up to two rounds of military base closures. Although it is seems unlikely that there will be a round in 2013, a subsequent round of closures may be on the horizon.

California’s varied geography and climate are optimal for battle simulation and combat training.  The topography of the state provides diverse training for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. According to Muratsuchi, the location of troops and equipment throughout California and along the Pacific coastline provides an advantage for national defense, particularly given the new military focus on the Pacific.

“In Southern California and the South Bay in particular, we must fight to preserve our robust aerospace and defense industry and be vigilant in defending our military installations, including the Los Angeles Air Force Base, which contributes so much to the regional economy,” continued Muratsuchi.  “We are fortunate that Lt. Gen. Eugene Tattini, former commander of Los Angeles Air Force Base, has also been appointed to the council.”

Formation of the council will allow the state to quickly recruit new military missions as weapons systems, aircraft, and ships evolve. These missions bring jobs and are an investment in California, Muratsuchi said.

Council Members

• Ellen O. Tauscher served by presidential appointment as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs, and later as special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense at the U.S. State Department. Prior to that appointment, she represented California’s 10th Congressional District for more than 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she chaired the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

• Maj. Gen. Alice Astafan, USAF (retired) serves on the board of the Oak Ridge Association of Research Universities (ORAU) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Before her retirement from the Air Force, she was the highest-ranking female officer in the U.S. Armed Forces.

• Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin is the adjutant general of California. Previously, he served as executive officer of the Combined Forces Command, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division Tactical Command Post, and senior mentor to the commanding general of the 201st Afghan Army Corps during two deployments to Afghanistan.

• Thomas R. Berard served as executive director of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base and executive director and deputy to the commanding general of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

• Vice Adm. Jody A. Breckenridge, USCG (retired) served as commander for the Coast Guard Pacific Area, director of the Coast Guard’s Strategic Transformation Team and commander of the 11th Coast Guard District, overseeing Coast Guard operations in the Southwest and Eastern Pacific Ocean.

• Col. Rocky Chávez, USMC (retired) represents the 76th Assembly District, which includes Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He serves as vice chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. Previously, he served as undersecretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

• Philip E. Coyle is a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Previously, he served by presidential appointment to the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission as associate director for national security and international affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama and assistant secretary of defense and director, operational test and evaluation, at the Department of Defense.

• Joseph Czyzyk serves as chair of the board and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Mercury Air Group. Previously, he served as chairman of the board of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation.

• Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (retired) serves as director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Previously, he served as the commanding general at Marine Corps Installations West, director of operations and logistics at U.S. Africa Command and deputy commanding general at U.S. Marine Forces Central Command.

• Rear Adm. James Johnson, USN (retired) was president of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, director of TRICARE Regional Operations West, CEO of Naval Medical Center, San Diego, and principal deputy for clinical and program policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

• Maj. Gen. Dennis Kenneally, USA (retired) is executive director of the Southwest Defense Alliance. He served as commanding general of the California Army National Guard, assistant adjutant general for the California Military Department and director of the Office of Homeland Security.

• Steve Knight represents the 21st Senate District and is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Defense and Aerospace and vice chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Previously, he was a member of the State Assembly and served on the Palmdale City Council.

• Dr. Mary D. Lyons was president of the University of San Diego and the California Maritime Academy. She was an instructor at the Naval Training Center, and twice served as commanding officer of Naval Reserve units.

• Adm. Henry Mauz, USN (retired) served as commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, deputy chief of naval operations and commander of the Seventh Fleet in the Far East, Naval Forces Central Command during Operation Desert Shield.

• Rear Adm. Benjamin Montoya, USN (retired) served by presidential appointment on the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission as chief of the Navy Civil Engineer Corps and commander of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

• Al Muratsuchi represents the 66th Assembly District and is chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Select Committee on Aerospace. Previously, he served as a prosecutor and deputy attorney general at the California Attorney General’s Office, as well as the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and Santa Ana City Attorney’s Office.

• Maj. Gen. Richard Roth, USAF (retired) represents the 31st Senate District, which includes March Air Reserve Base. Previously, he served as mobilization assistant to the judge advocate general of the U.S. Air Force, overseeing more than 900 Air Force Reserve judge advocates and paralegal personnel assigned to more than 200 offices at every level of command.

• Lt. Gen. Eugene L. Tattini, USAF (retired) serves as the deputy director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Previously, he served as commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

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  1. Closing Los Angeles Air Force Base would actually be a good thing for the families sent to serve here. While Los Angeles is a GREAT place to vacation, living here is a different story. As crowding in the city and on its highways (think I-405) continues to increase, the commute from Fort MacArthur to El Segundo and back increases in time and stress, as well. To avert this scenario, some have chosen not to live in base housing, but then they are left with limited and costly options for housing rental near El Segundo. This is NOT the best scenario for our military or their families when the mission could just as easily be carried out elsewhere. I know there are those with historical ties to LAAFB that will vehemently disagree with this message, but the fact remains that LAAFB has outlived its usefulness in a city too busy to notice.