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Executive Directive Number Fourteen (2021)

Establishing Virginia’s Security Corridors

Sentinel Landscapes State Coordinating Committee


Importance of the Initiative

The Commonwealth of Virginia is home to multiple critical military installations. The land on which those installations is situated, along with the surrounding communities and natural resources, is an increasingly important part of our Nation’s national security infrastructure. In order to protect, preserve, and expand the resilience and capabilities of these essential facilities, Virginia believes it is of utmost importance to receive a Sentinel Landscape designation from the federal government.

A Sentinel Landscape is an undeveloped or primarily agricultural land area around a military installation that has been designated for special protection from development that could constrain the military’s ability to carry out training and testing activities. A Sentinel Landscape is anchored by at least one military installation and includes agricultural and forestry lands that would significantly benefit from natural resource restoration and/or conservation projects. When designated as a Sentinel Landscape, the military installations will be protected from land uses that are incompatible with the military's mission. Furthermore, the surrounding land and landowners will benefit from increased access to certain federal funding opportunities, thereby protecting working lands and improving the health and resilience of our environment.

Because the lands around the Commonwealth’s military installations are also often affected by other environmental initiatives, a Sentinel Landscape designation will help the Commonwealth support and build on established initiatives such as:

  • The Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework, signed October 22, 2020, which will lead to a Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan and planning process, directed by Executive Order Number 24 (2018).
  • Implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Phase III, which will achieve federal water quality goals for the Chesapeake Bay by 2025.
  • ConserveVirginia, a first in the nation, data-driven, statewide, land conservation strategy that identifies high value lands and conservation sites across the Commonwealth of Virginia, launched in April 2019.
  • The Virginia-led Healthy Watersheds partnership project, which expands the use of forestland to meet critical climate adaptation efforts through carbon sequestration and ecosystem services enhancement to affect water and air quality.
  • The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which Virginia joined on January 1, 2021, and the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act, which the General Assembly passed in 2020, authorizing the use of 45% of funds from RGGI carbon credit sales for the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund.
  • Collaboration with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security Installations to address expanded resilience opportunities as directed by the 2018 – 2021 National Defense Authorization Acts and 2018 National Defense Strategy.

States can apply to have land designated as a Sentinel Landscape by submitting an application to the Federal Coordinating Committee (FCC). The FCC is led by the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership comprised of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and Department of the Interior. 

Directive to Establish Virginia Security Corridors Sentinel Landscape State Coordinating Committee

Therefore, I am establishing a Virginia Security Corridors Sentinel Landscape State Coordinating Committee (State Coordinating Committee) to lead Virginia’s effort to seek a Security Corridors Sentinel Landscape designation from the FCC. 

The State Coordinating Committee will:

  • Prepare and submit an application to the FCC by April 1, 2021 to designate a Sentinel Landscape in Virginia.
  • Facilitate collaboration to develop goals for Virginia’s Security Corridors Sentinel Landscape implementation.
  • Determine recommendations for identifying the initial priorities and desired outcomes for each of the four sub-sentinel landscapes. Each sub-sentinel landscape will represent a discrete section of the larger Sentinel Landscape. Each sub-sentinel landscape will be designated based on its location and will conduct the Sentinel Landscapes’ initiatives within its geographic area.

Composition of the State Coordinating Committee

The Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry will lead the State Coordinating Committee in partnership with the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. The Secretaries will continue their collaborative efforts with state, local, tribal, and regional leaders, federal partners, scientific experts, other Secretariats and state agencies, and other stakeholders to meet the goals of the State Coordinating Committee. 

The State Coordinating Committee shall be staffed by existing staff in the Office of the Secretaries of Agriculture and Forestry, Veterans and Defense Affairs, and any other Secretariats, agencies, or offices as designated by the Governor.


Effective Date of the Executive Directive

This Executive Directive shall be effective upon signing and shall remain in full force and effect unless amended or rescinded by further executive order or directive.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 25th day of March, 2021.