Southwest Defense Alliance Announces New Board of Directors Amidst Fight to Deflect Sequestration Cuts Threatening Western States

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Alliance serves to protect America’s defense, robust economies, and bases from detrimental budget slashes.

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Sequestration and BRAC will take a strong economic toll on the southwestern region of the United States, and compromise our national security infrastructure. This board will work its hardest to prevent some of the most painful cuts - Gen. Dennis Kenneally

Sequestration, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years, went into effect on March 1, 2013. This act, combined with four years of congressional continuing resolutions, created a fiscal perfect storm that is cutting our nation’s defense capability to the core. The Southwest Defense Alliance will continue to work to combat the effects of the $500 billion in slated cuts, and to divert these cuts from the vital economies of the western states. Sequestration presents an exceptional challenge not only to those within the defense industries, but to those indirectly impacted.

In conjunction with earlier mandated cuts, the southwest region of the United States now stands to lose an estimated 737,000 jobs over an eight-year period. Sequestration would account for 311,000 of those jobs lost. Directly and indirectly, defense spending supports nearly 3 million jobs in the region. The work of the Alliance is critical in the face of such debilitating economic realities.

The Alliance continues to work to preserve and enhance critical defense missions and assets in the southwest United States. With the announcement of a new Board of Directors, the Alliance will continue to work hard for the future of the southwestern states and the preservation of a strong defense for America.

The Executive Director of the Southwest Defense Alliance is Major General (ret.) Dennis Kenneally. A decorated combat Vietnam Veteran, Kenneally is the former Commanding General of the California Army National Guard and served in two Presidential administrations.

"Sequestration and BRAC will take a strong economic toll on the southwestern region of the United States, and compromise our national security infrastructure," said General Kenneally. "This board will work its hardest to prevent some of the most painful cuts that may strike our region."

In California, the state most affected by military cuts, Governor Jerry Brown recently named General Kenneally and board member, Major General (ret.) Alice Astafan, to the newly created, Governor’s Military Council. In this capacity, these retired military leaders will advise the Governor on efforts to expand California's defense industry and to protect against federal budget cuts, falling directly in line with the Southwest Defense Alliance’s mission.

The Southwest Defense Alliance honorary chairman is Governor Pete Wilson. Peter Barton “Pete” Wilson served as the 36th governor of California from 1991 to 1999, a United States Senator from 1983 to 1991 who served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Mayor of San Diego from 1971 to 1983, and a California State Assemblyman from 1967 to 1971. Governor Wilson’s strategic vision and experience working at the highest levels of government will help guide the organization through this difficult period of decreased funding.

The organization receives professional advice from Tom Goddard CPA, of Oliva, Goddard & Wright, and legal counsel from Paul J. Dostart of Dostart, Clapp & Coveney. Both professionals are based in San Diego, Calif.

The new Southwest Defense Alliance Board of Directors includes:

Casey Jones — Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (ret.)
Mr. Jones retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1982 before going into private business for 13 years. He has been a Special Olympics volunteer for over 40 years, was inducted into the Arizona Veterans’ Hall of Fame, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Huachuca Museum Society.

Frank Tussing — Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (ret.), Chairman Emeritus
Mr. Tussing retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978, has been a pilot since 1962 and is a past chairman of the Southwest Defense Alliance. He chaired the Nevada Development Authority’s Technology Committee, served on the UNLV College of Engineering and the College of Sciences advisory boards and was appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Nevada District Export Council in 2007. He was co-founder of Analysis Central, a Las Vegas business development and strategic planning firm.

John F. Regni — Lieutenant General USAF (ret.)
General Regni (Chairman) served 36 years of commissioned service. As the former Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, he championed the plan to put the Air Force on the path to producing 100% of its energy by 2015 and to being “carbon free” by 2025. He is a strategic consultant for the JFR Group, LLC, and the Technical Advisor for Defense and National Security, Arizona Commerce Authority.

Jon McQuiston — Chairman Emeritus
The Honorable Jon McQuiston previously served as an elected supervisor for Kern County, one of California’s largest legislative districts. He continues his work to preserve Kern County’s economy through efforts to promote the military defense capability of Eastern Kern.

Peter Hekman — Vice Admiral, US Navy (ret.)
Admiral Hekman is the former Commander of Naval Sea Systems Command. Also, he served as Deputy Director, Navy Research and Development, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He served as a Senior Executive (SES-6) with the US Department of Energy from August 1991 through February 1993. His position and title was Department of Energy Manager, Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC. He is an independent consultant to several clients, advising in the areas of management, scientific, and technical matters.

David Herbst
Mr. Herbst is Vice Chairman of the Southwest Defense Alliance and the Chief Corporate Officer of Mercury Air Group, a worldwide aviation services company. He has served as the President of the El Segundo Chamber of Commerce, representing the aerospace community surrounding the Los Angeles Air Force Base. Also, he has served as a Los Angeles City and Los Angeles County Commissioner. Prior to joining Mercury Air Group, Mr. Herbst was Senior Vice President and General Manager of MWW Group, one of the nation's top public relations firms. He is active in civic life in Los Angeles and Westchester, CA where he and his family reside.

Alice Astafan — ex-officio, Major General USAF (ret.)
General Astafan is President and CEO, of AAstafan & Associates. She is a graduate of the Squadron Officers’ School, Air Command and Staff, and Air War College and the recipient of numerous military awards and decorations. General Astafan retired from the United States Air Force in 1998 with the rank of Major General.

Edward Muñoz
Mr. Muñoz is the chief government relations officer for Raytheon Company in the western United States. Also, he is the company liaison to elected and appointed officials in the region. Mr. Muñoz is actively involved in both business and civic affairs.

Billy McCoy — Major General USAF (ret.)
Major General McCoy is a decorated command pilot and advocate for combat readiness whose experience includes: deploying in Kunsan, Korea after the USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea, flying F-4’s out of South Vietnam, and commanding an A-10 squadron in Central Europe during the height of the Cold War. The general has more than 4,300 flying hours, and his numerous military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross among many others. General McCoy is currently the Nevada State Director for the Selective Service System and a board member of several corporations and academic institutions.

Ashley J. Hall — Brigadier General U.S. Army (ret.)
General Hall is President of Ashley Hall & Associates, Inc. He retired as a Brigadier General from the Nevada Army National Guard following 35 years of distinguished military service, and currently serves as the US Army Reserve Ambassador for Nevada with rank equivalent to a Major General.

Ron Bath — Major General USAF (ret.)
General Bath is the founder and president of the RJBath Group, a defense and business consulting firm. General Bath retired from the active duty USAF in November of 2006 at the rank of Major General. His last military assignment was as Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force as the USAF Director of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).

Ed Brabson
Mr. Brabson is a long-time New Mexico resident, the president of Brabson LLC, and co-owner of Alamogordo Flower Co. He has served on numerous boards and commissions including the New Mexico Base Planning Commission, White Sands Balloon Invitational, City of Alamogordo Promotion Board, and the Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Brabson also served as a Holloman Air Force Base Wingman.

Gary Van Valin — Colonel, USAF (ret.)
Mr. Van Valin, a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, is the Chairman of the Board of Keystone International. Mr. Van Valin has extensive, recognized experience as a business leader, a senior military officer, a U.S. government negotiator, and an operational commander of U.S. Air Force tactical fighter units.

Jeffrey Dodson
Mr. Dodson is Director, State and Local Government Operations for The Boeing Company. He participates on the boards of the Southwest Defense Alliance, Aviation & Space Foundation of Texas, Dallas Love Field Frontiers of Flight Museum, Texas Association of Manufacturers, Texas Defense, Aviation & Aerospace Alliance and Texas Taxpayers & Research Association.

Tom Thomas
Mr. Thomas was appointed Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army in January of 2005 and to the Texas Military Preparedness Commission in September of 2009. He serves on numerous boards such as the Southwest Defense Alliance, El Paso Community College Foundation, Association of the United States Army and Armed Services YMCA.

Cary Westin — Colonel U.S. Army (ret.)
Colonel Westin is Vice President of Business Development for the Defense and Clean Technology sectors at the El Paso Regional Economic Development Corporation. Colonel Westin served over 24 years on active duty in the Army where his occupational specialty was air defense operations.

Michael Pavich — Major General USAF (ret.)
General Pavich serves as Chairman of the Barnes Banking Corporation, as a board member of the Utah Defense Alliance, and as a board member of Weber State University Research Foundation. He served as US Air Force Command Pilot in Vietnam, and as Commander of the Sacramento Air Logistics Center.

Peter Jenks
Mr. Jenks is the Congressional District Director for United States Congressman Rob Bishop in Ogden, Utah. Previously, he has served as a consultant for a media design firm and managed a 1996 congressional campaign. He is a past president and current member of the board for the Utah Defense Alliance.

Ivan Flint
Mr. Flint worked as a professional manager for over 50 years in the water industry and the State & Federal Government. He retired from the Defense Supply Agency after 25 years of Federal Service, and retired as CEO/General Manager of Weber Basin Water Conservancy District with 27 years service. He continued to work as an advisor to two Utah State Governors for three years. He serves as a director on several Boards in his community.

About the Southwest Defense Alliance:
The Southwest Defense Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan public benefit corporation founded in 1997 and represented by civic leaders, retired flag and general officers, elected officials, and government representatives as well as defense industry and military experts from Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. The Alliance works to preserve and enhance critical defense missions, facilities, a robust industrial base and other key assets in the Southwest Defense Complex, which includes vitally important military test and training facilities in the six southwestern states. These facilities represent the most extensive array of test and training ranges, laboratories, weapons expertise and technological research and development installations in the world. The Alliance is dedicated to "Supporting Defense, Energy and Industry for National Security and the Nation's Warfighters." The Honorable Pete Wilson, former Governor of California and a former United States Senator who served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the Honorary Chairman of the Southwest Defense Alliance.

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