VEDP Signs Memorandum of Understanding with U.S. Africa Command

Governor McAuliffe announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and VEDP in January. AFRICOM is one of six geographic combatant commands in the Department of Defense and is responsible for military relations with African nations, the African Union and African regional security organizations.

This MOU allows both parties to better coordinate their efforts in addressing identified needs and challenges in the AFRICOM area of operations. The priorities include assisting African partners to build their defense capabilities, effectively responding to crises, and deterring and defeating 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 the 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.”

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 2015, with more than 70 Virginia companies in attendance, comprising nearly a third of the event’s attendees.