Category Archives: Defense

Virginia Snags Another Fortune 500 H.Q.

Raytheon Technologies manufactures components of the Boeing F/A-18 “Super Hornet” multi-mission strike fighter aircraft featured in “Top Gun: Maverick”

by James A. Bacon

Waltham, Mass.-based Raytheon Technologies has announced that it will establish its global headquarters in Arlington. Following the recent decision of The Boeing Company to relocate its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, the move cements Northern Virginia’s standing as the leading defense/aerospace cluster in the United States.

“The location increases agility in supporting U.S. government and commercial aerospace customers and serves to reinforce partnerships that will progress innovative technologies to advance the industry,” stated the company in a brief press release. “Washington, D.C. serves as a convenient travel hub for the company’s global customers and employees.”

The announcement was unusual for not emanating from the governor’s office, as would be typical with news of this magnitude. It contained no quotes from Governor Glenn Youngkin, Arlington officials, or Virginia’s economic development officials; no citation of the number of jobs created (if any); and no mention of how much the company will invest in making the transition. However, the press release did make a point of saying, “Raytheon Technologies has not accepted or sought any financial incentives from any state or municipality to support the establishment of the global headquarters office in Virginia.” Continue reading

The Boeing Announcement Is a Vote of Confidence in Virginia

Boeing Advanced F-15 jet fighter

by James A. Bacon

The Boeing Company’s decision to transfer its official headquarters location from Chicago, Ill., to Arlington gives Virginia significant bragging rights. The move will have little detectable short-term economic impact. The more consequential news is a promise to “develop a research & technology hub” in the area “to harness and attract engineering and technical capabilities.”

Plans at this point are vague. I’m guessing a big winner will be Virginia Tech, which last year unveiled a $248 million project to replace Randolph Hall, which houses the aerospace engineering department. Randolph Hall is connected to one of the largest university-owned stability wind tunnels in the United States. Mitchell Hall, which will replace it, will accommodate the wind tunnel and partially enclose it. Tech also is developing a major campus in Arlington in collaboration with the Amazon project there.

With $66.2 billion in annual revenue in 2021, Boeing will rank as the second largest Fortune 500 company headquartered in Virginia. The first is Freddie Mac, which had $80.6 billion in revenue and logged in at No. 47 nationally. If Boeing recovers to the $100 billion-plus level of a few years ago, it would be the largest company based in Virginia. Continue reading

National Security, West Virginia Natural Gas and Hampton Roads – A Proposed Federal Law

Senator Manchin

by James C. Sherlock

This is the fourth in a series of columns recommending bringing West Virginia natural gas to Virginia and from there to our allies.  

The only way to do get that done with any assurance and speed under the energy emergency in which we find ourselves and the world is for a federal law to be passed that:

  • strips jurisdiction from federal courts over this specific pipeline because of national security requirements;
  • includes and similarly protects from lawsuits a new LNG terminal on either federal land or in the Port of Virginia or, helpfully, one or more floating LNG (FLNG) facilities offshore;
  • directs federal regulatory agencies to work in partnership with developers to ensure the work meets environmental standards; and
  • authorizes the costs as an expenditure for the Department of Energy.

I have made that recommendation to Sen. Manchin’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Read Chairman Manchin’s opening remarks yesterday to his committee yesterday. You will consider Sen. Manchin to be a potential yes on the proposal.

Committee attorneys can figure out the jurisdiction stripping language. They can also determine whether a federal law that strips jurisdiction from federal courts will also protect the project from state courts under the Supremacy Clause or additional language is needed. Continue reading

Virginia’s Greens Need an Epiphany

Green Party leader and German Economy and Climate Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck

by James C. Sherlock

Headlines from the war in Ukraine have raised exponentially the interest in natural gas and the extreme price volatility caused by supply constraints.

It is perhaps useful to understand the uses of natural gas, the prices Virginians pay relative to West Virginians, the decline of production in Virginia, and the costs and risks of supply constraints by the actions of green energy absolutists.

Not the enthusiasts, but the come-hell-or-high-water absolutists, who get way out in front of the thoughtful left. In Europe, greens let slip the dogs of war.

Putin thought Europe, with its far too early and thoughtless response to green pressure, too dependent upon Russian energy to oppose him.  He proved wrong, but now both free Europeans and Russians will suffer. Ukrainians and Russians are dying for that miscalculation.

Virginia greens need to reconsider the value of natural gas and the risks of insufficient supply. And, like the German Green Party this week, get over their opposition to gas until real renewable alternatives at the scale of the economy are, well, real.

Continue reading

A Time for Conservatives to Speak Out

by James C. Sherlock

Sometimes in life we come to a major fork in deciding who we are and who we are going to be going forward.

Donald Trump was quoted in the New York Times as having on Tuesday

“praised Mr. Putin’s aggression as “genius” and called the Russian leader “very savvy” for describing the troops aligned on the Ukrainian border as peacekeepers.”

Watch the video. No one can hurt him as badly as his own words and sneering presentation. Mr. Trump has lost what little self control he ever had. He can’t tell the difference between feigning intimacy by being casually offhanded about something as important as war and instead seeming utterly unanchored in reality.

Mr. Trump’s rant made it all about himself. He praised Mr. Putin as a throw away line. The whole presentation was disgraceful.  No a word about the freedom of Ukraine’s 41 million people.

He clearly has no sense at all of history and he can’t tell the difference between savvy and madness in Mr. Putin — and perhaps in himself.

Some Virginia politicians have tied themselves to Mr. Trump. Those who from this point forward do so without calling him out for this will have made a public choice. Continue reading

The Real and Present Threat of Flooding in Virginia Requires Coordinated Action

2021 FEMA flood map Hampton Roads

by James C. Sherlock

An editorial in The Virginian-Pilot this morning is titled, “A worrisome, watery future,” and is built around an update on flooding from NOAA.

It is a grave situation.

NOAA projects one foot of combined sea level rise and subsidence here in Hampton Roads by 2050. The adjacent map has not been updated to the new assessment. One more foot of water will turn most of the map orange and red – submerged and very submerged.

For larger scale perspective, see here.  For a thumbnail of a USACE storm risk management study of the City of Norfolk see here.

The Pilot editorial writer, approaching his conclusion, wanted to say something about green initiatives. So he did. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and such.

You can be for or against RGGI, but you cannot reasonably contend that it will stop flooding in Hampton Roads. The editorial is an example of green absolutism. That is one of the philosophies that has blocked state action on multi-jurisdictional flooding.

But it isn’t the only one. Continue reading

The President Had Somewhere Important to Be

Credit: Getty Images

by James C. Sherlock

The caption of the photo:

“US President Joe Biden looks down alongside First Lady Jill Biden as they attend the dignified transfer of the remains of a fallen service member at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware, August, 29, 2021, one of the 13 members of the US military killed in Afghanistan last week.”

I watched.  I am sure I had lots of company.

  • Virginia Veterans — nearly 730,215 — one out of 10 adults.
  • Virginia active duty (89,303) and reserve military (25,977) = 115,280
  • Virginia Army National Guard 7,500 soldiers and 46 armories
  • Virginia Air National Guard 192nd Fighter Wing at Langley AFB Hampton – approximately 200.

In an unblinking story for The Washington Post, Matt Viser exposed a failure of leadership and understanding of the moment that was a direct insult to all Americans.

The President was there to representing us all. He shamed us. Continue reading

Warner Promises Tough Questions on Afghanistan Collapse

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Fiasco. The hasty and chaotic withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan has shocked politicians from both sides of the aisle.  Virginia’s own Senator Mark Warner, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, will work with other committees to investigate how the US was caught off guard by the Taliban’s quick victory. The Hill quotes Warner as saying, “As the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I hope to work with the other committees of jurisdiction to ask tough but necessary questions about why we weren’t better prepared for a worst-case scenario involving such a swift and total collapse of the Afghan government and security forces.”  Warner correctly adds, “We owe those answers to the American people and to all those who served and sacrificed so much.”

Warner described the images from Afghanistan as “devastating.” Continue reading

Virginia Beach and Afghanistan

by James C. Sherlock

It was never a Navy war.

But in this Navy town, it was brought literally home to us again and again. We are home to nearly half of the Navy SEALs, including SEAL Team 6.

Something like 4,000 to 5,000 total plus their families.

SEALs are America’s special operations forces specially trained for undersea, coastal, river and swamp operations. They train on our beaches, in our swamps, bays and ocean. Some of us can hear their live gunfire at night.

Folks in the Navy flight paths hear big transports take off at 4:00 in the morning, guess that’s them going God knows where, wish them well, and try to go back to sleep.

About 15 years ago, I went through physical rehab in a civilian facility here with one of them, a Chief Petty Officer who you would not have recognized as a sailor. He and I were there for different types of injuries.

I was retired and rehabbing a knee operated on for arthritis. He was rehabbing muscle damage from a bullet wound. Affected his trigger finger. Continue reading

WaPo Nabs Polk Award, Is Pulitzer Next?

Ian Shapira

By Peter Galuszka

How ironical.

Our esteemed Jim Bacon has been on a tear in recent months writing about media coverage of the problem of systemic racism at the Virginia Military Institute.

Of special interest to Jim is the reporting of Ian Shapira, a Washington Post reporter who has been digging into the VMI. After his stories were published, the superintendent of VMI retired and an inquiry was launched.

Jim doesn’t like what the Post and Shapira have done. Some of Jim’s headlines go right to the jugular including “VMI Update: The WaPo Makes Another Sleazy Insinuation” and  “WaPo Ratchets Up Assault on VMI.”

At one point, Jim made this observation: “Polish up that Pulitzer. It looks like The Washington Post is vying again for the big prize in journalism”

Well, guess what happened? Shapira and the Post have won a George Polk award for their VMI coverage. The citation reads thusly: Continue reading

The Mythology of Robert E. Lee

By Peter Galuszka

With excellent timing, the former head of the history department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has come out with a book about the mythology of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and much of the White “Southern” culture.

Retired U.S. Army Gen. Ty Seidule, a former paratrooper, has deep Virginia roots and his analysis goes right to the heart of the problems plaguing Virginia, Civil War memorabilia, Richmond, Charlottesville, the Virginia Military Institute and more.

He grew up in Alexandria and had ties to the Episcopal prep school where he expanded his desire to be a “Southern” gentleman while worshipping the likes of Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

Here’s a link to my review of his book in Richmond’s Style Weekly. The Post also reviewed the book this past Sunday.

Hard Power Matters – America’s Universities Must Protect It

by James C. Sherlock

This is a continuation of the discussion raised by my column on the folly of educating Chinese and Iranian visa holders in Virginia universities and colleges. Some in that discussion thought soft power would overcome what America loses in hard power.

Soft power is both crucially important and utterly insufficient to guarantee the future freedom and prosperity of the West and its allies around the world.

We need credible military capabilities — hard power — as well.

Hampton Roads is the largest concentration of military power in the United States, perhaps the world. The Pentagon is in Arlington. Northern Virginia is awash in government and contractor defense personnel. But this issue directly affects all of America. And Europe. And South America and Africa, which are seeing overt Chinese attempts to influence events on both continents. And our allies in the Pacific.

China is without question the biggest long term military threat to the United States and its allies. It combines technology, economic power, an enormous and talented population and ruthless leaders. Continue reading

WTJU Podcast on State’s Economy

By Peter Galuszka

This may be familiar turf for some readers, but here is a podcast I worked on with WTJU, the radio station of the University of Virginia. It gives a larger overview of the changes that data centers are making in the state’s economy and what that might mean in the future.

This elaborates on a Style Weekly story I posted here a few weeks ago.

Early this year, WTJU started preparing a series of podcasts under the “Bold Dominion” banner that explores how politics, economics and culture are changing in the Old Dominion. I think they have had 25 episodes up until now and I have participated in some of them. I also do a weekly Q&A on state politics.

Here’s the most recent podcast:

https://bolddominion.org/episodes/what-does-a-burgeoning-tech-industry-mean-for-virginia

Stewart Gets Last-Minute Gift From Trump

Corey Stewart

Peter Galuszka

Corey A. Stewart, a conservative firebrand from Prince William County, is getting a last-minute going-away present from President Donald Trump.

As Trump’s administration comes to an end, Trump has created a position on trade at the U.S. Commerce Department that is just for him. In 2016, Stewart headed Trump’s Virginia election campaign before being fired. Stewart said that he was Trump before Trump was Trump.

Stewart is an international trade lawyer and is expected to strong arm Trump’s tough and confusing trade policies.

A special target is China, which Trump has castigated, with some justification, for cheating on business deals, fiddling with its currency exchange rates, growing its armed forces and trampling on human rights.

Stewart will toughen enforcement of Trump’s hostile trade relations, according to news reports.

Some trade experts wonder what the Stewart story is all about. According to Reuters, William Reinsch, a former Commerce undersecretary, said he viewed hiring as “peculiar” since he is filling a position that does not exist. Continue reading

The “Rat Pack” Makes the Point

By Peter Galuszka

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman took the historically enormous step of integrating the U.S. Armed Forces. The Virginia Military Institute, which prides itself on its warrior panache, didn’t get around to that until 1968 and even today there are serious questions about racism at the state-supported school.

The past few days have seen story after story about charges of widespread racism at the school that led to Gov. Ralph Northam, a VMI graduate, ordering an investigation. The school’s superintendent, an 80-year-old retired four-star Army general has resigned.

The Washington Post got big play for its investigative report about the atmosphere in Lexington, where the school is located. Actually, the Roanoke Times first had a story this summer that Black alumni were concerned that racism was getting out of hand. This morning, the Post has a story about anonymous posts that VMI students apparently made on Jodel, a Website.

If anything, the posts prove the media’s point. Black athletes are referred to insultingly as “permits” because they are excused from normal military exercise because they work out in sports. They are said to be at VMI because they are not good enough at sports to get into a better college. Continue reading