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Northern Virginia, home to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Fort Belvoir and Marine Corps Base Quantico, is one of five communities across the country named to the 2022 Class of Great American Defense Communities.
The Association of Defense Communities (ADC) announced the five selected communities in conjunction with USAA, the program’s official sponsor at the Defense Communities National Summit earlier this month. The 2022 class also includes West Valley Partners, Ariz., Tullahoma, Tenn., Antelope Valley, Calif., and Florida’s Space Coast.
“Our military needs America’s defense communities to support them,” said ADC President Bob Ross. “We are proud to recognize Northern Virginia as a region that goes above and beyond to support service members, veterans, and their families.”
The Great American Defense Communities program was launched by ADC in 2016 to recognize and celebrate the communities and regions that support military installations for their exceptional commitment to improving the lives of service members, veterans and their families.
According to Commissioner Penelope A. Gross, member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Co-chair of the Community, Military, and Federal Facilities Partnership of Northern Virginia, “Our regional Partnership over the last twelve years has provided a valuable mechanism for community-military conversations and collaboration. It’s wonderful to have the Base Commanders engage with community leaders and organizations across the region to develop and expand partnerships – together we have accomplished and can accomplish much! It has been remarkable to see opportunities for collaboration with tools such as our Regional Intergovernmental Support Agreement (r-IGSA). This allows us to purchase salt, sand, and stone to help our local bases save money. We have also been able test an autonomous shuttle on JBM-HH and have been recognized two years in a row for our accomplishments with an Army Partnership Award.”
“Over the years we have addressed many military-community issues in Northern Virginia to include workforce development and transition, cyber security, transportation, and resiliency” said Supervisor Gross.” She went on to say, “However, none have been as challenging and informative as the conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion that we have been holding with military members and their families through listening sessions. We also looked at data extracted for Northern Virginia from ADC’s report Understanding, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Defense Communities, developed as part of its One Military One Community Initiative. This brought to light racial differences in areas of K-12 education, criminal justice, housing, healthcare, and employment, law enforcement, & healthcare.”
In response to these findings, Victor S. Angry, Supervisor in Prince William County, and Co-Chair of the Partnership responded, “I have made it my mission to try to address these differences so that we are not in this same place in ten years from now.”
Communities are chosen through a competitive nomination process based on integration, support and collaboration with installations and community building efforts, such as educational and employment opportunities. This year, the Great American Defense Communities Program has a special focus on how communities are innovating and pioneering new ways to serve service members and their families.
ADC is the connection point for leaders from communities, states, the military and industry on community-military issues and installation management to enhance knowledge, information sharing and best practices. With nearly 300 communities, states, regions, and affiliated industry organization as members, ADC represents every major defense community and state in the country. Visit defensecommunities.org to learn more. Facebook |LinkedIn |Twitter
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 12.3 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.