With hours to go before $85 billion in automatic spending cuts are triggered, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has issued an executive order for the state to examine the possible effects of the cuts and best plan of action for the commonwealth.

According to the White House, approximately 90,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be affected by the federal cuts known as the sequester. Army base funding would be slashed by $146 million, and Air Force operations funding would be cut by about $8 million. Cuts to the Navy would include cancellation of maintenance on 11 ships in Norfolk.

McDonnell (R) issued the order on Friday afternoon. Last month, the governor sent a letter to President Obama urging him to avoid the sequester, warning that such cuts would have a devastating effect on national security and the U.S. and Virginia economy. Obama visited Newport News this week to put a human face on the cuts, speaking at a campaign-style rally at a nuclear submarine factory.

Under McDonnell’s order, Virginia's Commission on Military Installations and Defense Activities would “examine in detail the likely impact on Virginia of the planned defense cuts, and future BRAC actions, and to recommend the best courses of action to advocate for favorable policies in Washington, and respond to the economic and security impacts here at home.”