In the past, every section of Virginia has been a battleground of some sort or another. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Native Americans competed for resources. Pre-colonial Virginians used stone and bone tools to construct wooden walls (palisades) around towns, to protect against attack. The first English colonists at Jamestown did the same thing, building a fort for protection.
The Anglo-Powhatan wars affected the early settlements in the James River watershed, eliminating plans to make Henricus the new colonial capital. During Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, rebels led by Nathaniel Bacon burned the colonial capital at Jamestown. The colonial governor William Berkeley fled across the Chesapeake Bay to Northampton County. Bacon's followers chased after Berkeley in their own ships - but were caught by surprise, and had their flotilla captured while anchored off the shoreline of Northampton County in the Chesapeake Bay.
In 1667, Virginia was finally attacked by a European country. The fears of the London Company in 1606, when it prepared instructions for the first colony to sail upstream for protection against Spanish or other enemies, were valid.
Dutch warships sailed into the Chesapeake Bay in 1667, seven years after the Navigation Acts excluded the Dutch from trading with English colonies and three years after the English had seized New Amsterdam - renaming it New York. The English were too poor, after a long civil war between royalists and Puritans, to maintain their navy. (In 1667, the Dutch were even able to destroy the main British fleet anchored at the mouth of the Thames River, because King Charles II had been unable to raise taxes to finance naval operations on the water.)
The Virginia tobacco fleet was supposed to be protected by an English frigate, the Elizabeth, but it was unseaworthy. Five Dutch warships suceeded in burning the frigate and captured the fleet of merchant ships about to carry the tobacco crop to England. In 1673, another fleet of Dutch warships had a similar success in Hampton Roads, outmaneuvering the two English warships stationed in the harbor. The wealth of the Virginia planters was transferred to the Dutch again, because the English military was unable to protect the colony of Virginia.2
A century later in the Revolutionary War, the Chesapeake Bay was an avenue of attack again. Fearing a British invasion, the revolutionary government in Virginians moved the capital inland from Williamsburg to Richmond in 1780. However, in 1781 the British easily sailed up the James River and destroyed the public buildings in the new capital. While most marching and fighting occurred east of the Fall Line, the British cavalry chased the General Assembly all the way to Charlottesville, forcing legislators to flee across the Blue Ridge to reassemble in Staunton.
In 1814, near the end of the War of 1812, British warships sailed up the Potomac River ato Alexandria. Fort Washington was supposed to block any fleet, but the Americans abandoned the fort. The Common Council of Alexandria surrendered without resistance, after the British fleet lined up on the Potomac River and demonstrated its capacity to bombard the town. In that era, the British officers were able to benefit personally from capture of "prizes." As the merchant ships and warehouses of Alexandria were looted, the wealth of Virginians was transferred to British officers because the national government was unable to protect the city.3
During the Civil War, all of Virginia was threatened at one time or another. Union forces retained control of Fort Wool and Fort Monroe, and quickly established control over Alexandria and Norfolk. Union forces in western counties guarded the B&O railroad (with some notable exceptions), and enabled the creation of the new state of West Virginia. Troops moved by railroad quickly from one place to another, starting with the transport of a Confederate army from the Shenandoah Valley to Manassas in July 1861. Even the artillery moved across the state; the Long Tom cannon captured by Confederates at Manassas was used later at Richmond.4
The modern military bases in the state are located along the Fall Line or in Tidewater. If Congress authorized one more military base in the Norfolk area, it might cause Virginia to tilt up on its side and sink into the Atlantic Ocean...
Source: Library of Congress, Unidentified soldier in Confederate uniform with kepi
While that is not literally true, that area is running out of space to add new military facilities. The Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach is the target of frequent noise complaints from low-altitude flights and practice carrier landings. To reduce noise complaints, the Navy is attempting to establish a training airstrip (Outlying Landing Field) in a less populated area - but neighbors in all the proposed locations have raised objections.5
Those military bases are major parts of the local economy. Even after the military drawdown during the 1990's at the end of the Cold War, the 2000 census counted 91,615 uniformed military personnel in Hampton Roads. Newspapers reported that military personnel were concentrated in San Diego, Washington DC, Seattle, and Honolulu, but6