Perspectives: Virginia Commonwealth Accelerates Military-Friendly Status Through Promotion of Local Partnerships

Perspectives: Virginia Commonwealth Accelerates Military-Friendly Status Through Promotion of Local Partnerships

Contributed by Zakary Payne, P.E., Associate at Matrix Design Group

As the host state of 30 different military installations and missions, the Commonwealth of Virginia has been accelerating its efforts to make the state a strong military and veteran-friendly state.

Virginia is home to 155,046 military members and 725,028 veterans while its defense economy accounts for a $102 billion in annual gross state product and more than 884,000 jobs throughout the Commonwealth.

One way the state is leaning forward to accelerate its military-friendly mission is through the efforts of Virginia Secretary of Veteran and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins to promote and advocate for community partnerships.

Secretary Hopkins recently sponsored a partnership workshop August 14th at Fort AP Hill. The workshop focused on the benefits and possibilities of partnerships followed by a brainstorming session between installation, community leaders, first responders, and Commonwealth representatives. More than 90 people attended with strong representation from King George County, Caroline County, Essex County, Spotsylvania County, the town of Port Royal, the town of Bowling Green, local school districts and Fort AP Hill.

The workshop served as a starting point to open the lines of communication between the different entities to see where they may work together to strengthen their ties while becoming more efficient and effective in the process.

“We recognize that the continued success of military missions and military personnel in the Commonwealth hinges on our many committed partners—from our Governors, state legislators, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, small and large private businesses, colleges, local governments, and many others. We all are working together to foster strong relationships and build a culture of partnering,” Hopkins said.

The following day Secretary Hopkins hosted the Virginia Military Advisory Council (VMAC) at Fort Belvoir. The VMAC is a quarterly meeting attended by all installation commanders within the Commonwealth of Virginia. The meeting covered a range of topics affecting the military and defense communities within the Commonwealth, particularly focusing on Public-Public / Public-Private (P4) partnerships throughout the state. Installation commanders provided examples of successful P4 partnership efforts and areas where challenges remain.

Each challenge received in-depth discussion and strategies proposed to overcome the challenges were presented by other commanders and the Commonwealth’s consultant, Matrix Design Group (an ADC sponsor).

“We all realize our success depends on our partnerships and state legislators are integral to the process,” State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17th) said. “We are forming tighter bonds and enabling more effective mission execution because of events like this.”

Moving Virginia forward through community partnerships, strategic plans, new mission advocacy, and enhanced veterans benefits are all avenues that Secretary Hopkins is pursuing to ensure Virginia remains a leader in supporting the military and the defense industry.

Photo provided by Zakary Payne, Matrix Design Group

Editor’s Note:

If you have a defense community article you would like to share as a “Perspectives” item or other feature news for ADC’s readership, send to: gtraweek@defensecommunities.org.

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