Eric Jabs Bio

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Eric Jabs will bring over three decades of extensive experience in the Navy to his work with the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) this spring. A retired U.S. Navy captain, he spent his career as a submarine officer and Navy SCUBA diver. Eric describes his involvement with the VCPC as “going back to [his] roots in the ocean…continuing to serve in the public policy field.”

Eric is currently pursuing a PhD through Old Dominion University in Oceanography, Maritime Management, and Public Policy. His dissertation will be strongly based in the science behind sea level rise and how the Hampton Roads area is addressing coastal policy issues. His interdisciplinary studies have given him the opportunity to take a variety of coursework at different Virginia academic institutions, including a course on policy implementation taught by Virginia Sea Grant Director Troy Hartley at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The VCPC will be the capstone course for Eric’s PhD program.

Eric will be collaborating with two other VCPC students to research local government’s authority to address sea level rise and recurrent flooding. Under the Dillon Rule, Virginia’s local governments only have the authority the General Assembly grants them. There are specific statutes that address recurrent flooding, yet localities often believe that they do not have authority to be proactive in dealing with the issue.

The VCPC has already examined the issue of local government authority under the Dillon Rule in Norfolk and Poquoson. This spring Eric will help to separate the perception of authority from the reality of the law, so that Virginia localities can effectively adapt to sea level rise.

“One of the ways I can add value to the VCPC is the access I have to these folks professionally and locally [as a Virginia Beach resident],” says Eric.

Eric completed his undergraduate education at the University of South Carolina in Mechanical Engineering. He also holds two Master’s degrees: in Ocean Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University. He is currently starting a civilian job with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center at Cheatham Annex in Yorktown, VA, and anticipates completing his PhD program by May 2016.

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