Jim Tollefson, President/CEO, The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii with Charlie Ota, Vice President Military Affairs and members of the USO greet troops arriving from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Military Affairs Department serves as the liaison for the state in matters relating to the military in Hawaii, and strives to establish and maintain strong bonds between the military, business, and civilian communities. In doing so, it provides vital oversight for Hawaii’s growing defense industry.
The work of the department is handled primarily through the Military Affairs Council (MAC) and Armed Services Committee (ASC). The MAC meets regularly with the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command and the Commanders for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Army Pacific, Marine Forces Pacific, and the 14th Coast Guard District. The ASC is a subcommittee of the MAC and meets with installations commanders and officials to provide assistance to military personnel and their families and maintain positive base-community relations.
The Chamber’s Vice President for Military Affairs is Charlie Ota, firstname.lastname@example.org, 545-4300, X320.
The Military Affairs Department:
• Serves as the advocate for the military and small businesses desiring to do business with the military and other federal agencies.
• Promotes a strong and viable partnership between the state and county governments and the military commands.
• Builds rapport with installation commanders and military communities.
• Facilitates business development opportunities for small businesses in defense and other federal contracting.
• Participates as a charter member of the Joint Venture Education Forum in schooling military children in Hawaii’s public schools.
• Facilitates coordination with the state and county governments and private owners in providing the lands and resources needed by the military to fulfill its missions in defending and securing the U.S. against all enemies.
• Supports the military in complying with federal and state laws on protecting and preserving our natural resources and cultural sites and artifacts.
• Promotes programs and activities to enhance the quality of life for military personnel and their families.
• Conducts the affairs of the MAC and ASC.
• Administers the affairs of the O`ahu Council, which is chaired by the Governor of Hawaii and the senior military commander in Hawaii.
The department conducts events and activities to promote strong bonds with the military commands, recognize and honor the troops and their families for their many sacrifices, and highlight the important contributions made by the military to make Hawaii a safer and better place. Major events and activities include:
• The annual Hawaii Military Partnership Conference held in January to update state and county officials and business leaders on the status of the military’s presence in Hawaii.
• Advocate for the military at the State Legislature, City Council meetings, and other forums.
• Visit with the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, and the commanders for Pacific command headquarters for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard at least annually to address topics of mutual interest.
• Conduct Hawaii’s annual Military Appreciation Month in May to honor and recognize the military troops and their families. This includes a gala Opening Ceremonies to kickoff appreciation month, a Combined Military Band Concert, a Military Recognition Luncheon, and a host of other activities.
• Conduct an annual visit to Washington, D.C. with a delegation of MAC members meeting with key defense officials and military chiefs in the Pentagon and congressional officials on Capitol Hill.