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RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia has been awarded $3.2 million in federal funding to support defense and community initiatives.
“Virginia has tremendous defense assets, and as one of the top recipients of Department of Defense spending, we are working hard to make our Commonwealth the most military friendly state in the country,” said Governor Northam. “Our defense industrial base is vital to the nation’s long-term national security strategy, and we must ensure our workforce partners are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This funding will support transformational changes and shape the way we protect critical infrastructure and train workers in key industries.”
One and a half million dollars was awarded to the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem (MIBE) initiative, managed by Old Dominion University, which seeks to transform the shipbuilding and repair workforce and maritime training pipelines across the Hampton Roads region. An additional $1.4 million was awarded to GENEDGE Alliance which works with small defense companies to ensure they are compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards for cyber security. The grant was awarded by the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) through their industry resilience program.
“We are thankful for our partnerships with the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem as well as GENEDGE,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins. “The grant my office received from the federal OEA for these programs will prove invaluable as we continue to work with our federal, state, and local partners to protect Virginia’s defense assets and support local economies.”
“The Navy needs ships built and repaired and the Hampton Roads region is in the best position to synchronize those efforts,” said retired Vice Admiral David Architzel, Chairman of the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem. “The MIBE has partners and buy-in from the public and private shipyards, ship repair facilities, as well as military and community leadership across the Hampton Roads region. Our collective efforts are underway to transform the maritime industrial base workforce of tomorrow.”
“Cyber threats are real and growing,” said Dr. Wayne Stilwell, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of GENEDGE. “This grant will allow us to increase the cyber security capabilities for many small defense companies that are essential national security assets in critical supply chains.”
Virginia consistently ranks among the top states in defense spending, and defense spending makes up almost nine percent of state gross domestic product. According to an OEA report, Defense Spending by State Fiscal Year 2017, Virginia was ranked second among the states for direct defense spending with $46.2 billion, second for contract spending with $30.5 billion, and first for defense personnel spending at $15.7 billion.
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