Governor McAuliffe today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). AFRICOM is one of six geographic combatant commands in the Department of Defense and is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for military relations with African nations, the African Union, and African regional security organizations.
This MOU allows both parties to more easily coordinate their efforts to address identified needs and challenges in the AFRICOM area of operations. The priorities are assisting African partners to build their defense capabilities, effectively respond to crises, and deter and defeat transnational threats in order to promote regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa.
The signing of the MOU comes in the third year of VEDP’s Going Global Defense Initiative (GGDI), the first program of its kind in the U.S. designed to help Virginia’s defense sector diversify its revenue by pursuing sales to partner nations. GGDI is the Commonwealth’s only program that replaces U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) revenue streams for Virginia’s defense companies, which in turn preserves jobs and replaces declining state tax revenues for Virginia.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “This MOU demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to growing our defense sector internationally and to leveraging our state’s assets to advance key national security priorities. Virginia is the number one state in the U.S. for defense contracts, and this MOU is a proactive and strategic step for the Commonwealth to overcome the impact of defense cuts and sequestration. Partnerships like these are important in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”
VEDP established a relationship with AFRICOM in the first two years of the GGDI to identify areas where Virginia companies can help build defense capacity, promote security and otherwise develop solutions to meet key U.S. or partner state objectives. VEDP also participated in AFRICOM’s industry event in Stuttgart, Germany in January 2014, and most recently participated in AFRICOM’s Partnership Forum in Stuttgart in June of 2015, with over 70 Virginia companies in attendance, comprising over 26% of the event’s attendees.
“This MOU with U.S. AFRICOM is a great example of the federal government, state government and private sector working together effectively to achieve common goals of economic growth and national security,” said Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “We are helping Virginia’s defense companies grow and diversify their customer base by providing them with the tools they need to sell their products in the global marketplace.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership, a marketing organization, was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1995 to encourage, stimulate, and support the development and expansion of the economy of the Commonwealth. To accomplish its objectives of promoting economic expansion within the Commonwealth, the Partnership focuses its efforts on business recruitment, expansion and international trade. VEDP offers numerous programs to assist Virginia companies sell into the global marketplace.
No endorsement of VEDP by the U.S. Department of Defense, its components, or its personnel is intended or implied.