One priority of North Carolina’s newly established Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will be helping the state’s defense communities resolve land use conflicts with neighboring installations, the agency’s secretary said last week.
“We think we’re in pretty good shape in North Carolina, but we still want to make sure we do everything we can to improve the military value of the installations, so if a BRAC does come around, we’re in good shape,” Cornell Wilson Jr. told the Chronicle of Winston-Salem.
The new department — which has about 100 employees on staff — also underscores the state’s commitment to veterans, according to Wilson, who retired in 2010 from the Marine Corps at the rank of major general.
“It all says a lot about North Carolina,” he said. “We’re serious about our military, serious about our veterans.” Wilson had been Gov. Pat McCrory’s military affairs advisor since October 2013.
The secretary said the state has made significant strides supporting its veteran population, including offering in-state college tuition and launching NC Military Pipeline, a pilot program to assist service members transitioning to the civilian marketplace.
“There are employers looking to hire veterans but they’re not quite sure how to do it, so we put programs in place to bridge that gap,” Wilson said.
North Carolina has the fourth largest military presence in the country with 100,000 active-duty military personnel, and is home to almost 800,000 veterans, giving it the nation’s eighth largest veteran population, according to the story.