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Two ODU Board Members Named to Governor's Commission on Military and National Security Facilities

Two members of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors, Rector David Bernd and retired Navy Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., have been named to Gov. Bob McDonnell's Commission on Military and National Security Facilities.

McDonnell announced the full membership of the commission, as well as a work plan outlining the goals and duties of the group, on Aug. 26.

Bernd, CEO of Sentara Healthcare, is one of 16 citizen member appointees to the commission, and Gehman will serve as special adviser to the group.

Former Virginia congressmen Tom Davis and Owen Pickett will chair the commission, which is scheduled to hold its first meeting Sept. 3 in Richmond.

McDonnell formed the Virginia Commission on Military and National Security Facilities to serve as an advisory panel assisting the administration in developing and executing strategies to retain and grow military and national security installations and activities in Virginia. The commission is the result of the governor's discussions with members of Virginia's congressional delegation on the issue. Staffing for the commission will be provided jointly by the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness and the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

"Virginia has long played a leading role in the defense of the United States of America. The Pentagon, Naval Air Station Oceana, Fort Lee, Fort Belvoir, Naval Station Norfolk, the Joint Forces Command and many other installations in the commonwealth are crucial to the security of our homeland as well as our ability to project force around the globe," McDonnell said.

"As governor, I will work with leaders from both parties, the private sector, all levels of government and the military to ensure that these facilities remain in the commonwealth for the sake of our national security. The members of the commission will play key roles in this effort, and I thank them for agreeing to serve in this capacity. There is important work to be done."

The full commission is to meet at least quarterly. It will divide its work into more focused subpanels to concentrate more specifically on current and key issues facing Virginia.

The governor has specifically requested that the commission's initial work plan include subpanels focusing on the recent announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to de-establish the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) located in Hampton Roads, and his proposal to reduce the contractor workforce supporting the Department of Defense by 10 percent per year over the next three years. Additionally, there are other significant issues requiring long term planning and strategy on a statewide basis upon which the commission will focus.

The subpanel on the Joint Forces Command will consist of individuals most knowledgeable regarding the current functions at JFCOM and the military's need for these services. The subpanel will coordinate its work with the efforts currently under way by the local leaders in Hampton Roads and the congressional delegation.

This article was posted on: August 27, 2010

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