The Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs serves the Commonwealth in four critical ways.
First, it oversees the Virginia Department of Veteran Services (DVS), whose mission is to serve Virginia’s Veterans, Guardsmen, Reservists, and their family members, by ensuring they receive timely transition, employment and education assistance, benefits, health care and long-term care and recognition they have earned through service to our Nation and Commonwealth. The Secretary distinguishes and elevates issues and opportunities for Veterans and transitioning Service members in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Of primary importance are the employment, health care, and education needs of our Veterans. With the seventh-largest Veteran population in the Nation and the greatest number of Veteransin the workforce per capita, the Secretariat maintains a particular focus on employment of our newest generation of Veterans who have the current skills needed here in the Commonwealth.
Second, the Secretariat serves as the primary liaison for the Commonwealth to the United States Department of Defense and its military communities. It leads the Governor’s initiatives focused on relationship building with and support of our military and defense installations and the communities surrounding them. Through the Governor’s Virginia Military Advisory Council (VMAC) and active Secretariat community involvement, the Commonwealth continues to be an engaged host in support of the military and defense missions in the state.
Next, the Secretary oversees the Virginia Department of Military Affairs (DMA), DMA’s mission is to effectively integrate military and homeland defense capabilities into applicable state operations; employ, train, and manage the Virginia Militia, consisting of the Virginia National Guard (the Virginia Army National Guard and the Virginia Air National Guard) and the Virginia Defense Forces; and to ensure the safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth during declared emergencies.
Lastly, the Secretariat oversees the Veteran Service Foundation (VSF). The VSF provides supplemental funding to programs, services, and initiatives of the Department of Veteran Services when state and federal resources are unavailable. All charitable donations to VSF stay right here in the Commonwealth and go toward providing access and services to Virginia Veterans.
We are honored to serve the Commonwealth and our Veterans , and look forward to working with you to continue to make Virginia the most Veteran and military friendly state in the Nation.
Carlos Hopkins currently serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, the state’s top official for coordinating state and federal resources to support Virginia’s veteran community and liaison with federal defense facilities. Former Governor Terence R. McAuliffe appointed him Secretary on September 1, 2017, following Hopkins’ service over the previous 3 years as Counsel to the Governor where he advised the Governor on the impact current federal and state law might have on the Governor’s policy proposals. Governor Ralph S. Northam reappointed him to a new four-year term.
Carlos was born in Columbia, SC and is a graduate of The Citadel in Charleston, SC, where he graduated with a degree in political science with a concentration in law and criminal justice. He received his law degree from the University Of Richmond School Of Law and is licensed by the Virginia State Bar.
Carlos began his legal career at a small firm in the City of Richmond handling insurance defense cases and federal court appointed matters. He left private practice to join the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. Carlos served seven years as a prosecutor in the City of Richmond where, as a Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney he supervised the office’s narcotics and Project Exile prosecutions, working closely with his federal and state counterparts to stem the flow of drugs and illegal firearms in the City. As the Deputy in charge of the office’s Manchester Courthouse Division, he supervised the prosecution of all cases occurring within the City of Richmond south of the James River. He also prosecuted a broad range of felonies including capital murder, rape and numerous drug and firearm offenses.
After a brief stint managing a solo practice, Carlos returned to the public sector when he was asked to serve as the Training Director for the newly restructured Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, the state agency that manages Virginia’s public defender system. The agency also determines the eligibility criteria for court appointed counsel-those attorneys who provide a legal defense for indigent persons accused of crimes that carry a potential penalty of incarceration or death.
In 2013, Carlos joined the Richmond City Attorney’s office after operating his own solo practice the previous two years. As a Deputy City Attorney, his practice areas focused on tax assessment and eminent domain litigation as well as public safety. He was instrumental in bringing together members of the administration and Council staff to address the issues surrounding the reclamation of derelict properties in the City. After Governor McAuliffe was elected to be Virginia’s next governor, Carlos was then tapped to be the Governor’s Counsel in January 2014.
In addition to his civilian legal experiences, Carlos currently serves as the Staff Judge Advocate for the 29th Infantry Division at Fort Belvoir. He has over 27 years of service in the Reserve and Guard forces of the United States as a Judge Advocate and former enlisted Soldier and, from July 2008-July 2009, he deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he served as the Chief of Military Justice as part of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
Carlos is an avid golfer and runner and has a son, Isaiah.
Email: Carlos Hopkins
Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218
Department of Veterans Services
Offers a range of services for veterans and their family members
Department of Military Affairs
Plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness, and employs forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents within the Commonwealth.
Virginia Veterans Services Foundation
The Virginia Veterans Services Foundation provides supplemental funding when state and federal resources are not available. Donations support selected programs and critical services offered through the Department of Veterans Services.
Joint Leadership Council
The Joint Leadership Council (JLC) consists of representatives of the majority of veterans service organization in the Commonwealth. It advises the Department of Veteran Services on matters of concern to veterans and their families. The Council is active in identifying veterans’ needs and advocating in support of veterans issues that may be remedied through appropriate legislation or by other means.
Virginia War Memorial
The Virginia War Memorial is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s monument to honor the memory of Virginia’s men and women who demonstrated a willingness to serve and fight to defend our way of life from World War II to the present.