McDonnell helping Virginia avoid BRAC surprises

Seeing his state about to get hit hard by sequestration budget cuts, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell looked down the road and saw another possible threat looming.

Congress is not currently planning for it. But in an economic climate of defense cutting, McDonnell feared that Congress might support a new round of federal base closures, making Virginia's defense assets vulnerable.

So McDonnell tapped the recently retired head of the Navy's Fleet Forces Command, Adm. John Harvey, to lead a state commission tasked with helping Virginia avoid losing any military installations and positioning it to attract more.

The state board is being reconstituted years after the 2005 round of congressionally mandated closures forced the Army to vacate historic Fort Monroe in Hampton.

Harvey says his 15-member team will travel the state to examine how military bases and communities interact and to gather data showing why Virginia is the ideal place for these bases.

"I think there's a great opportunity for Virginia in the midst of chaos and crisis," Harvey said Friday. "I think the governor sees a need to prepare for that opportunity."

Harvey retired from the Navy in September and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business executive education program.

He said he is glad to chair the state's Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities.

"I think it's important, as a citizen of Virginia in these very extraordinary times, to do my bit," Harvey said. "It's work I believe in. I am a citizen, and I am in a position to do it."

The bipartisan group will likely work through the end of 2014, Harvey said. In its first stage, the team will collect data to better understand why Virginia lost bases in the 2005 BRAC round and to look at what's different on bases today.

Relations between Hampton Roads' bases and host cities strengthened after 2005, when the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission proposed closing Oceana Naval Air Station, in part because of encroaching development in Virginia Beach.

That spurred the city and state to agree to spend millions to acquire property between Oceana and Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field in Chesapeake, which Navy fighter jets use for landing practice.

In February, the Chesapeake City Council voted to rezone nearly 16 acres off Mount Pleasant Road to allow for a subdivision. That property is a few miles from Fentress.

The decision surprised regional and Navy leaders, who warned that the action could jeopardize the base and landing field. The City Council agreed to reconsider the decision and will vote again on the issue Tuesday.

Harvey said his commission will also examine the effects of defense cuts on the state and make recommendations to help the governor advocate on Virginia's behalf in Washington.

Similar commissions are being formed in such states as Indiana and Montana, he said.

He said Virginia makes more sense as a host for defense facilities because of its deepwater port and its established air stations and naval bases. If another round of base closings occurred, Harvey said, he is confident he could make the case to sustain Virginia's military installations.

"We are going to have the best case," he said. "It's always good to have the facts on your side."

Dianna Cahn, 757-222-5846, dianna.cahn@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Military Politics State Government

COMMENTS ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here; comments do not reflect the views of The Virginian-Pilot or its websites. Users must follow agreed-upon rules: Be civil, be clean, be on topic; don't attack private individuals, other users or classes of people. Read the full rules here.
- Comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the report violation link below it.

"It's always good to have the facts on your side."

All this clamor over raising taxes on the wealthy, and cutting spending for social security, medicare and medicaid.

Yet not a word is spoken against the huge, wooley mammoth standing in the center of the room.

What about the U.S. Defense Dept that is bigger than the rest of the world's combined? Seems like nobody wants to mention DOD spending, Is that because the defense industry PACs write the largest political campaign checks?

When it comes down to austerity and where to pare down the budget spending, WHERE'S THE BEEF?

It's where it always is, sitting in the middle of the room. Yet everyone is too terrified to breathe a living thought against it.

President Eisenhower was right: "Beware the military industrial complex".


when did National Defense become a "jobs program?"

A long time

Probably longer than their unemployment compensation program.

DoD Unemployment Compensation

Bob's actually going to start doing his job now?

If McDonnell had been doing his actual JOB and attracting business to the state (instead of legislating his friend Pat Robertson's brand of "morality"), losing some military jobs might not be such an emergency.

Now no-jobs-Bob thinks hiring one guy is going to make up for the gov doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help Virginia's economy for YEARS. McDonnell is going to learn what every school kid has already learned -- when you screw off for most of the term, cramming for the exam at the very end doesn't help much...


A prime example of "jobs programs" is the F-35 program as pointed out in the VP. By contracting, sub- and sub-sub- contracting out all over the country, the project is assured of continuation since the largesse is so spread out and so many congresspukes are involved the project is inviolable.
Another example, look at Ohio.
According to the Dayton Daily News there are five projects favored by Ohio politicians that are under scrutiny:

- The Global Hawk Block 30 drone program;
- The C-27J Spartan cargo aircraft;
- Upgrades to the M1 Abrams tank;
- Air National Guard funding;
- A proposed East Coast missile defense system.

Without the money, lawmakers say Ohio could lose thousands of jobs.

a thought

--something else you don't hear much about is the up coming costs of that OBAMACARE.--doesn't that count as a entitlement?--did you hear about that $63 charge for each and every employee ,that a company insures,that is going to begin on Jan. 1 2014?

--they talk about cutting social security and medicare but nothing about that Obamacare or the costs.--interesting.

frank in va.bch.

On the other hand,

Paul Ryan talks about increasing revenue by cutting tax loopholes, but conveniently avoids stating particulars. Seems to be about the same degree of obfuscation.

OFF Topic But: What About The Guy w/ No Insurance in the ER?

You see, eventually he will have to pay too and all of our costs will go down.

When you have more competition and even now nationwide competition with health care insurance companies, it will only drive down costs.

You insurance went up not because of Obama care, but it's bee growing at an uncontrolled rate for years. Now that box of gause costs $77.

Your Ryan hero is a cheerleader for Big Insurance that fights competition. Both parties know that something had to be done. Even the Suprime Court rolling out de-funding Obama care is a replay of a bad movie about to get worse for the GOP if they don't listen to the people.

Where's the war on Health Care costs? Answer me that Batman? Whose Stock when up when the Supreme Court ruled?

your corollary of cause and effect doesn't make sense

Prices have gone up because we have insurance. The shared pain means that your out-of-pocket expense has not had to deal with what the doctor and medical providers charge.
If you had to personally pay for the bandaids and aspirin and doctor's time then you would demand a better price AND you would not seek medical attention when you sneeze. Supply and demand would set lower prices. Because you and I don't directly pay for services then we don't really care until our INSURANCE PREMIUMS go up.
Insurance premiums go up to cover the increased doctor charges because the ALLOWED rate doesn't change as needed.

I wager that you would not fire "big insurance" to be true to your beliefs.

BTW, the USSC didn't rule or rule out defunding Obamacare.

I see the admiral and his

I see the admiral and his team have positioned themselves for some fine jobs after they retire, our Gov has created an instant company for them by doing this.

Do you think they'll come back with any findings OTHER than those which support their views?

You're right, this Wooly Mammoth is taking up too much room. We've got ships (FFG class) that are nothing more than cannon fodder, we have ships (MCMs, MHCs) that have to be dismantled to extract them off of reefs, and ships (CGs) that can be replaced by newer ones (DDGs). Are we keeping them around just to perpetuate the officer ranks (and thereby perpetuating the ranks of the contracting companies). All this country needs are teams of operators like the Seals to infiltrate and destroy.

in response to robertd75172

Admiral Harvey accepted this appointment as a volunteer, unpaid position. His mileage and expenses will be compensated but he is not receiving a salary for heading this commission. Harvey said he accepted the appointment because it is something that interests him and because he felt it was his duty as a citizen of Virginia.

What difference will it make?

Harvey says his 15-member team will travel the state to ... gather data showing why Virginia is the ideal place for these bases.

"It's always good to have the facts on your side."

Since when did data and facts have anything to do with political decisions?

Yeah what a joke....

You would THINK being "supreme commander" at one time here, he would almost know EXACTLY what Va has in its ranks...just another big whig retiree, collecting a huge civilian salary on the back of Va tax payers...exactly what data needs to be "collected" that many other past "15-member teams" have not already collected over the years? Each state knows EXACTLY what talking points they want to provide, when it comes to military bases and federal dollars that could come or leave a state..

Spread the Weapons Platform out to 48 States Like the Complex Do

Subject Line: Is that wise or a corporate / political decision? Does this not increase the overall design, shipping, and manufacturing costs of the platform? Or keep politicians in each state voting for the platform that sometimes even the Pentagon says that we don’t always need? Trent Lott ring a bell?

Let’s turn on our radars here and see what’s on the horizon… Maybe we can cut costs? Just maybe?

Marty the Greek - The Beni Sug guy that everyone hates!

If you implemented my idea, that's OK, I don't need the credit. If it saved one life it was worth it and warms my heart! If it was cost savings, I'm now over $1 MIL documented. How many gov employees can say that?

mr. john harvey

Mr. Harvey has one of the best set BS filters I have ever experienced. He is an honest, forthright man with an incredible memory, an exceptional eye for details, good judgement of character and he has a scientific background to analyze complex situations to find truth.

He is not afraid to take on the military establishment if required. He holds no grudges and gives no quarter to lies, spin and foolishness. His requirement for strict accountability is in no small measure responsible for the relieving of probably 50 military "leaders".

McDonnell has chosen a good one. Good luck to Mr. Harvey and his team. If we are fortunate he will eventually serve us as SECDEF, which would terrify non-performers, civilian or military.

You sound to me like you know Admiral Harvey.

I don't but your description of him is how I think about him. This how he came across in everything I have ever heard him say through the television, radio, newspaper, or the blog he used to write.

I think people complaining about Admiral Harvey leading this effort is a perfect example of you just can't please everyone.

i read a lot of comments attacking Va for the need to even

have a military or for this team to fight to keep the military presence in VA. To me, it is a smart thing to do. When people where looking at closing Oceana and the 35,000+ jobs, it hit home for many people.

Some here decry MIC and DOD welfare/jobs program. These jobs represent our safety. They are not going away regardless of what a few vocal minority wish to spew.

Facts are important and it would be nice if folks who hate our military would learn about the organization they show so much disdain towards. Jane Fonda is a laughing stock and a joke. Yet for many, she is a model spokesman for the anti-military establishment crowd. Especially for her actions during Vietnam. MICers, libs, Fondas just hate. In this case that which allows hate.

it's refreshing to know you have been listening all this time

The sigh of relief from your post that showed how well you have been listening and open-minded you are.

The REAL answer is conservatives and Republicans want spending checked and obsolete, duplicated, and out of federal realm programs are eliminated.
Government spending and raising taxes are necessities! What I as a conservative wants is to cut spending, cap growth, and balance the budget. Listening is a good thing. Thinking for oneself is a better thing.


I will give you credit. You stay true to form and stay with the script no matter how dumb it is.

And Democrats LOVE

spending, any time, any place, any amount. Our President say's 16 Trillon dollars of debt is not an emergency, No problem for 10 years spend, spend, spend. oh yeah, tax,tax,tax. Why do those mean ol corp. move away from the US, we only have the highest tax rate on them in the world.

15 person team spending VA taxpayer monies

More waste of the VA taxpayers monies. These bases have been here forever and I am sure the Governor knows what is happening because he has to have rubbed elbows with the military higher ups. If we don't have the money to properly supply our schools with what teachers and students are entitled to, how do we have the money to pay 15 people to travel the state and make a report for the Governor?

Do you think these 15 people are going to work cheaply and stay at a motel8 when on the road?

This is one of the problems of limiting the governor to one term, money wasted.


Frankly, I am disappointed that an extremely knowledgeable and experienced military leader like Admiral Harvey has compromised his strategic acumen regarding dispersion. The ultimate purpose of this 11-member commission is to financially benefit the Commonwealth and not the necessary and prudent defense of the country. Now that the Admiral haul down his flag, he has cased the our country's colors, and hoisted the bare-breasted warrior.

I don't trhink the..

retired officer involved is serving the Navy or his country in this endeavor. Military assets should be placed where they do the COUNTRY the most good. Like everything else, things change in time, and basing many ships in one locale might be a good idea at one time, but not at another. The western Pacific is now the focus of our military. It stands to reason to base most of the carriers on the West coast and perhaps in Hawaii and even Guam if space there allows. Besides, VA has some nerve claiming they are military friendly. If they were, they would take the lead from states like NC which excludes military retirees retirement checks from income taxes! Perhaps if the good Admiral devoted his efforts to that things would be better!

brac 2014

Will the last one out of Hampton Roads please turn out the lights?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Please note: Threaded comments work best if you view the oldest comments first.

Daily Deal |  | Promote your business