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Posted at 4:13 PM ET, 11/18/2010

Webb releases Pentagon holds, suggests AFRICOM move to Norfolk

By Ben Pershing

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) announced Thursday that he was releasing his hold on all pending Defense Department nominations, three weeks after he said he would block all of them until he received more information about the Pentagon's proposed closure of the Norfolk-based Joint Forces Command.

Webb said Thursday he had finally received the information he sought, though he still complained about the delay.

"More than three months ago, following the recommendation to close [JFCOM], I asked for a series of comparable historical data related to our analysis of all of these commands and the efficiencies which Secretary Gates is attempting to put into the DoD -- efficiencies which I fully support," Webb said in a press release. "This basic request should not have taken this amount of time."

Webb and other Virginia officials, including Gov. Robert McDonnell (R), have fretted about the possible economic impact JFCOM's closure would have on the Hampton Roads region, which is heavily dependent on the military. The move could cost the area 6,000 jobs. McDonnell, Webb and the rest of the Virginia congressional delegation are scheduled to meet with Gates Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

Perhaps seeking to offset those possible losses, Webb suggested at a senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday that the Pentagon consider relocating the U.S. Africa Command to Norfolk from its current home in Stuttgart, Germany.

"A very good case can be made to reduce the size of our military's footprint in Europe for strategic and economic reasons," Webb said, according to his office. "Norfolk and its adjoining communities have first-class facilities to accommodate AFRICOM's mission -- much like Tampa, Florida, is home to the U.S. Central Command's headquarters."

AFRICOM was created in 2007. It has more than 1,200 personnel, half of whom are civilians.

By Ben Pershing  | November 18, 2010; 4:13 PM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, James Webb  
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Comments

Most AFRICOM to NORFOLK? What a great idear! There's a new $13M building being built for them on Mitscher Avenue on the Naval Station Annex....

Just down the street from NATO HQ (ACT) and across the street Fleet Forces Command.

Such a DEAL!

Posted by: davidgleason | November 19, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

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