[ skip to content ]

Retired Rear Admiral Discusses Future of Local Military Presence at Economics Club Luncheon

The federal and military presence in Hampton Roads will likely be smaller in the years ahead, "but we're not going away," said retired Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, guest speaker at the Economics Club of Hampton Roads Luncheon on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Quigley, executive director of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA), told the audience of local business leaders that the region has some specific advantages that will help it play "offense, not just defense" during the next round of expected military cutbacks.

Quigley said military bases in Hampton Roads are right next to space to conduct exercises on land, in the air and on water. That means a heightened level of readiness for military forces, while still allowing the Department of Defense to keep an eye on expenditures, he added. "It's an incredible strength. Our deepwater port isn't going away. Nobody is going to remove these natural attributes Hampton Roads has."

Quigley's talk, "What's Next for Business: How to Think About the Next Five to 10 Years of Federal Presence in Hampton Roads," broke down federal spending into broad military and civil service categories, and offered "trends" to look for in the future with federal expenditure.

The talk, cosponsored by the Navy League of Hampton Roads, is part of a regular series of luncheon speeches organized by the Economics Club of Hampton Roads, an organization for business and government executives and community leaders who share an interest in the practical implications of economic principles, trends and events.

In introducing Quigley, Dean Gilbert Yochum of ODU's College of Business and Public Administration articulated the stakes for this region about the future of military expenditure, noting that there is $22.1 billion worth of direct spending in Hampton Roads on the military, more than half of which is on military personnel.

Quigley said the organization he leads, HRMFFA, didn't exist until the last round of proposed military base realignments and closures, known as BRAC, caught the region flat-footed in 2005. "There was no single entity paying attention to the federal entities as a full-time job."

Now, Quigley said, the region is better prepared to anticipate what budgetary decisions might be undertaken by Washington, and how that might affect this region.

With a trend of shifting military assets to the Pacific Ocean theater, reducing the size of the military's fighting force and closing overseas bases, Hampton Roads civic leaders and Virginia state leaders have an ambitious job stating the case that this region is best suited for the assets that exist here, or even an ideal landing site for a military installation that could be moved. For one thing, other regions look on the federal presence in this area - all five aircraft carriers on the Eastern Seaboard, special operations forces, NASA Langley - with envy.

"Nobody's going to feel sorry for us for any cuts we do face. The view is that this region and Virginia has got it very good," Quigley said.

Despite this, Quigley said he doesn't believe the attempt by the state of Florida to base one of the carriers currently docking in Virginia will have any success because of the exorbitant cost that would be involved in the move. And the Navy veteran expects more investment in special forces training here, not less, after this latest round of spending efficiencies is sought.

The Economics Club of Hampton Roads was established in 1991 as a community service by former ODU President James V. Koch and is administered by the dean of the College of Business and Public Administration, under the supervision of an elected board.

In addition to the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, which includes a morning program with forecasts of the global, national and Hampton Roads economies, the club organizes at least seven other major programs, normally luncheons, each year. They feature top speakers on economic and business issues, especially those issues most directly impacting the Hampton Roads economy.

Except for the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon, programs are not normally open to the general public. However, members are encouraged to bring guests. Many members find it useful to bring clients and customers to club programs.

Membership in the Economics Club of Hampton Roads is open to anyone in the community who would enjoy the opportunity to hear timely, varied and valuable presentations by nationally known experts and regional business leaders.

For more information contact Executive Director Bruce Rubin, ODU associate professor of finance, at 757-683-3590 or brubin@odu.edu.

This article was posted on: November 12, 2011

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.