RD219 - Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Year in Review and Virginia Military Advisory Council 2018 Annual Report – January 2019

Executive Summary:

The Veterans and Defense Affairs Secretariat has two main missions: first, to provide active outreach to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the veterans service organizations, and the veterans community in Virginia to support and assist Virginia's veterans in identifying and obtaining the services, assistance, and support to which they are entitled; and secondly, to provide active outreach to the U.S. Department of Defense to support the military installations and neighboring communities in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Military Advisory Council (VMAC) was created as an advisory council to: maintain a cooperative and constructive relationship between the Commonwealth and the leadership of the Armed Forces of the United States and the military commanders of such Armed Forces stationed in the Commonwealth, encourage regular communication on continued military facility viability, and encourage the exploration of privatization opportunities and issues affecting preparedness, public safety, and security.

In 2018, the Secretariat, under the leadership of Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos L. Hopkins, continued to address the needs of the more than 725,000 veterans and 115,000 active duty and reserve members of the military in Virginia. This was accomplished by taking a number of steps to ensure veterans and service members were connected to employment and other services, easing transitions to new posts or to civilian life, and providing resources to prevent suicide.

Under the leadership of the Secretary, the focus of the VMAC in 2018 was on continuing efforts to make the Commonwealth of Virginia the most military-friendly state in the Nation. This was accomplished by addressing the needs identified by the military service chiefs and the base and installation commanders in the areas of public-public partnerships support for military children, and growing the military mission in Virginia.