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Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 11/18/2010

McDonnell, Va. congressional delegation to meet with Gates on proposed defense cuts

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell and members of Virginia's congressional delegation will finally meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates about proposed defense cuts, including the recommended closure of the Joint Forces Command, a military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads.

Joining McDonnell Tuesday morning will be former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Military and National Security Facilities, and Terrie Suit, assistant to the governor for commonwealth preparedness.

McDonnell (R) has been requesting a meeting for months, but with little success. Instead, he and members of the congressional delegation held a breakfast meeting Sept. 28 at the Pentagon with Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn and Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"The governor is looking forward to Tuesday's meeting,'' McDonnell spokeswoman Taylor Thornley said. "It is an opportunity to speak directly to the Secretary of Defense about the importance of JFCOM to the security and defense of our nation."

McDonnell and members of Virginia's congressional delegation have vowed to fight Gates's decision to shutter the Joint Forces Command and to slash the Pentagon's military contracting budget by 10 percent a year for the next three years.

Virginia officials said they have not been told when President Obama or other federal officials would act on Gates's recommendation, but have encouraged them to wait until next year.

But in an Oct. 1 letter to McDonnell, Gates said he would not be able to defer changes until next year.

Last month, Sen. Jim Webb (D) alerted the Department of Defense that he plans to put a hold on all civilian and flag officer nominations until he gets more information about the decision-making process to Gates's recommendation. Sen. Mark Warner (D) has said he supports the move.

By Anita Kumar  | November 18, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, James Webb, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell, Thomas M. Davis III  
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