The Hampton Roads area of Virginia is relatively unknown nationwide, but it is the region whose vulnerability to sea level rise most affects military readiness and our overall national security.
With 14 military installations spread across 17 local jurisdictions, it is our highest concentration of military assets in the country, where 1 in 6 residents are associated with our nation's defense.
Their homes, schools, hospitals, and families are increasingly struggling to keep up with the effects of rising waters, and the military and all the surrounding municipalities are working towards solutions in the name of strengthening national security and enhancing economic prosperity.
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Hampton Roads requires $1 billion in urgent infrastructure repairs with 900 miles of its roads and electric grid threatened by permanent flooding. Faced with these unprecedented challenges that can only be tackled by a wide range of stakeholders, from ordinary citizens to the U.S. Navy to local businesses, Tidewater demonstrates that an innovative whole-of-government problem-solving model being attempted by local and military leaders is the only way to ensure the continued strength of our national security, along with the continued prosperity of the region and the nation.
If Hampton Roads succeeds, it will mean success on several levels. They'll save their homes, schools, businesses, the bases, and that's no mean feat. But they'll also create a powerful template for success, a model other regions can use to prepare for and deal with disaster – and more: a model that can demonstrate how people, businesses and government can pull together to solve any complex problem. The story strikes a positive tone, highlighting the outsized capabilities of Hampton Roads to show the nation and the world how it can be done. Lots of hard choices and sacrifices will have to be made in order for the plan to succeed, but if they get it right, human communities everywhere will have a roadmap.