Pentagon axes agencies, thousands of jobs
Update: 5:46 p.m.: Gates says Pentagon to cut thousands of jobs.
An announcement expected this afternoon from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the Pentagon will shutter the Joint Forces Command in the Norfolk area, and trim the defense contracting force by 10 percent over the next year could rock the Virginia and Washington regional economy.
The AP reports that Gates will announce the cuts as part of a plan to reduce the Pentagon's budget by billions. JFCOM employs 4,900 people, most of them civilians, who earn a combined $200 million a year. One of the Pentagon's 10 combat commands, JFCOM is charged with training military personnel from the different service branches to work together; it controls 1 million square-feet of office space in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Meanwhile, the Northern Virginia economy has been cushioned during the recession by the vast expansion of civilian defense contracting in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs could take a big hit from a reduction in civilian contracting.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) has already released a statement opposing the closure of JFCOM.
"I can see no rational basis for dismantling JFCOM since its sole mission is to look for efficiencies and greater cost-savings by forcing more cooperation among sometimes competing military services. JFCOM also has served an important role as the anchor for Virginia's investments and increasing profile in the modeling and simulation industry. In the business world, you sometimes have to spend money in order to save money. We will work together as a congressional delegation to see what we can do to maintain as many of these JFCOM jobs as possible in southeastern Virginia," he said.
Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has scheduled a bipartisan news conference today with U.S. Reps. Randy Forbes (R), Glenn Nye (D), Bobby Scott (D) and Rob Wittman (R) to discuss the announcement.
August 9, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
Categories: Glenn Nye , Rob Wittman , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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