Fort Bragg area appointees to advise NC governor on military issues
The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory appointed three people from Cumberland County to his new North Carolina Military Affairs Commission, his office announced Tuesday.
The commission replaces the N.C. Advisory Commission on Military Affairs, which lawmakers wrote out of the statutes this summer. It had appointees leftover from former Gov. Bev. Perdue's administration.
Like the commission it replaces, the new panel advises the governor, lawmakers, the secretary of commerce and other state agencies on programs and legislation affecting North Carolina's military installations.
The governor's appointees included retired four-star Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, who served more than 40 years before retiring in 2008; Joy Thrash, executive director of the N.C. Defense Business Association; and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Dordal, a military defense consultant who led the BRAC Regional Task Force for five years.
Two others from Fayetteville also sit on the commission. Former state legislator George Breece was appointed by state House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Robert C. Anderson was appointed by state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. Anderson is a retired lieutenant colonel.
McCrory swore in the new commission Tuesday during the group's first meeting. McNeill, Dordal and Anderson served on the former advisory commission.
Thrash said after the meeting that the governor's presence left an impression.
"It helped you realize the importance of this commission coming together and focusing on North Carolina," Thrash said. "We have a lot of people that work to support our military. The work we'll do will be important and have an impact on people we know - friends, families, neighbors."
The commission's meeting Tuesday was mainly introductory, Thrash said. Members were assigned to subcommittees and given a briefing on the defense industry, which is the second largest industry in the state. They also discussed quality of life for veterans and their families.
Thrash said one of the group's first goals is to examine which military installations could use infrastructure support. It will address concerns about how best to connect exiting military personnel with North Carolina jobs.
"There are good jobs in North Carolina that need well-trained workers," Thrash said. "Putting them together is a win-win for the military and these companies, and also helps encourage other industries that may be looking to move here."
Thrash said having three local members on the board reflects the importance of Fort Bragg, but that the group's focus is on military issues affecting the entire state.
The commission's next meeting is Dec. 3 at Fort Bragg. The commission has 21 voting members - 11 appointed by the governor, five appointed by the state House speaker, and five by the president pro tem of the Senate. There are several non-voting members on the commission.