Virginia Leveraging Military Assets for New Spending, Industry
With federal defense dollars drying up, Virginia leaders say it’s time to market Virginia as the headquarters for the central government.
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - With federal defense dollars drying up, Virginia leaders are coming up with a plan to reboot the commonwealth's economy.
Spending cuts have taken a toll on Virginia’s economy, but a cabinet official for Governor Terry McAuliffe says there are now new opportunities on the horizon.
Since 2011, the Department of Defense has scaled back billions of dollars in contracts awarded to Virginia. Although military operations and related industries are heavily concentrated in Hampton Roads and northern Virginia, Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey says all Virginians are impacted.
“The ripple effect through the Virginia economy - all the second, third, and fourth tier suppliers, if you will, of goods and services into the military chain and, quite frankly, the economic output impact on this has been felt by in virtually every district in the commonwealth,” Harvey said.
Governor McAuliffe’s administration and other officials are planning ahead.
As explained to the Senate Finance Committee this summer, the central government is seeking to consolidate military resources and leaders say now is the time to market Virginia as the headquarters.
“Within this situation there's a great opportunity for the commonwealth, and how do we position ourselves to actually grow the military mission in Virginia, beyond what we have?" said Harvey.
At a briefing in the General Assembly building, Harvey says Virginia has unique capabilities that will be the envy of other states.
"Virginia is exceptionally well postured to be the epicenter, again, of special operations training for a future that is coming at us very, very rapidly and will be sustained,” said Harvey.
Part of the strategy will include harnessing modern technology for military surveillance, drones, and cybersecurity - all of which leaders say can attract more federal dollars, jobs, and companies.