October 17, 2008

Virginia Department of Military Affairs plans to consolidate headquarters by 2014

Virginia Guard News Release

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs intends to begin a phased consolidation of the Virginia Army and Air National Guard Headquarters into a single location in Sandston scheduled to be completed in 2014. Maj. Gen. Robert B. Newman Jr., the adjutant general of Virginia, met Oct. 17 with senior Army Guard and civilian leaders at Fort Pickett, as well as local government leaders of Blackstone and Nottoway County, to announce the planned consolidation.

The consolidation plan is the result of months of careful research and high-level discussions. “I am confident this is the best course of action to ensure we can effectively execute our assigned missions for the Commonwealth,” Newman said.

“There are two primary reasons for consolidating our headquarters into one location,” Newman said. “First, we need to be able to closely coordinate our homeland security efforts with the Governor’s office, the Secretary of Public Safety, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia State Police and other state agencies. Second, the move will give us more effective command and control of DMA assets in the Army and Air Guard, as well as the Virginia Defense Force.”

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is the state agency that oversees Virginia’s Army and Air National Guard and the all-volunteer Virginia Defense Force. The DMA is currently headquartered in Richmond, the Army National Guard is headquartered in Blackstone, the Air National Guard in Sandston and the Virginia Defense Force in Richmond.

“The world has changed since September 11, and the role of the Department of Military Affairs has changed as well,” Newman said. “The vast majority of state agencies are located in Richmond, and during emergency operations, our missions requires fast coordination and often face-to-face meetings with the Virginia Emergency Operations Center and other state agencies. To make this happen, it is critical that DMA, Virginia Army National Guard Headquarters and the Virginia Air National Guard Headquarters consolidate in Sandston.”

The DMA’s Joint Operations Center will move to Sandston later this year, and in 2014 the directorates that manage personnel, operations, logistics, facilities and fiscal operations will complete the move. These directorates are currently stationed at Fort Pickett in Blackstone.

“We value our relationship with the communities of Blackstone and Nottoway County, and we understand the importance of Fort Pickett to the local economy,” Newman said. “Fort Pickett is and will continue to be a key training center not just for the National Guard and Defense Force, but for the Active Army and other services as well.”

The Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Headquarters will stay in place, as will the 183rd Regional Training Institute and 34th Civil Support Team. The DMA will also maintain a fiscal operations detachment, a medical detachment, a field maintenance shop and the Mobilization and Training Equipment Site.

Approximately 260 duty positions will move to the new Sandston location, Newman said. The positions are primarily in the Army Guard’s headquarters in Building 316 at Fort Pickett and are a combination of Active Guard and Reserve, federal technicians and civilian state employees.

Numerous construction projects are planned between now and the end of 2013 for Fort Pickett, including a combat pistol range, a new armory for the 183rd RTI, a multipurpose range, a combined arms collective training facility and a Virginia State Police driver training track. Newman said the estimated budget for these and other construction projects exceeds $100,000,000.

Fort Pickett currently has almost 900 employees to support training operations conducted on the post, and more than 630 will remain after the consolidation of the DMA headquarters. With expected increases in staffing to support planned training operations by the Virginia State Police and other possible increases in units training at Fort Pickett, that number could increase to about 675 by 2013, Newman said.

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