Tauscher to chair new Governor’s Military Council

Gov. Jerry Brown probably believes it’s fine for the nation to speak softly, but he’s enlisting a former East Bay Congresswoman to ensure California remains part of its big stick.

Ellen TauscherBrown today appointed former East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher to chair a new Governor’s Military Council, tasked with protecting California’s military installations against the deep budget cuts being made by the Pentagon under the sequestration approved by Congress and President Obama.

“California plays a crucial role in our nation’s defense, and military bases and activities are vital to our state’s economy,” Brown said in a news release. “As federal priorities shift to cyber security and new military technology, this Council will work to expand defense-industry jobs and investment in California.”

California is home to 29 federal military installations, and the Defense Department directly employs more than 236,000 people in California. This new council will work to protect those installations and operations amid ongoing Defense Department budget cuts, and to push for changes in federal military strategy that will keep California at the front of defense innovation.

“California’s military infrastructure is critically important to national security,” Tauscher said. “The Council will send a unified message to Washington, D.C., that highlights the value of our military bases.”

Tauscher, 61, represented her East Bay congressional district from 1997 until 2009, when she resigned to take a post as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs; she left that post in February 2012. More recently, she served as the State Department’s Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense and Vice Chair-Designate of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. She is now a strategic advisor to the Baker Donelson law firm in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., noted defense is key sector of the state’s economy.

“With federal budgets continuing to be cut — including many defense programs — it is my hope that the Governor’s Military Council will help protect jobs and investments and attract new missions associated with California’s military presence,” she said. “I also believe that Ellen Tauscher is an excellent choice to chair this council, as she brings a wealth of experience at the State Department and as a member of the House of Representatives.”

The council will convene for one year and draft specific recommendations to the governor and Legislature. It includes retired admirals and generals from all military branches, the Adjutant General of the California National Guard and lawmakers selected by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez. The appointments don’t require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation.

See the full roster of council members as described by the governor’s office, after the jump…

Major General Alice Astafan, USAF (retired) serves on the board of directors for the Oak Ridge Association of Research Universities (ORAU) in Oak Ridge, TN. Before her retirement from the Air Force, Astafan was the highest-ranking female officer in the U.S. Armed Forces. Astafan was a member of the California Council on Military Base Support and Retention, chair of the California Veterans Board and a member of the Southwest Defense Alliance.

Major General 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, CA and executive director and deputy to the commanding general of the White Sands Missile Range, NM.

Vice Admiral 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.

Colonel Rocky Chávez, USMC (retired) is an Assemblyman representing the 76th District, which includes Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. He serves as vice chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. Previously, he served as Under Secretary 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 Chief Executive Officer 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.

Major General Anthony L. Jackson USMC, (retired) serves as the 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 Admiral James Johnson, USN (retired) was president of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, director of TRICARE Regional Operations West, chief executive officer 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.

Major General 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 is a State Senator representing the 21st District, where he is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Defense and Aerospace and vice chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Previously, he was an Assemblymember and served on the Palmdale City Council. Knight is a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Mary E. 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.

Admiral 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 Admiral Benjamin Montoya 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 is an Assemblyman representing the 66th District, where he 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.

Major General Richard Roth, USAF (retired) is a State Senator representing the 31st 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.

Lieutenant General 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.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.