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Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Updated: Obama okays closure of Joint Forces Command

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

President Barack Obama approved the closure of the Joint Forces Command Thursday night despite repeated requests by Virginia Gov. Robert F. Mc­Don­nell and the state's congressional delegation to salvage the military installation employing more than 6,000 in Hampton Roads.

In a brief memo from the White House, Obama announced that he accepted U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's plan to shut down the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk and Suffolk. No date was given for the closure.

"The governor is strongly opposed to the decision by Secretary Gates and the President to close JFCOM,'' Mc­Don­nell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "The facility not only employs thousands of Virginians but, most importantly, is crucial to the ability of our armed forces to successfully integrate functions in a time of multiple and constantly evolving global threats. Its unfortunate that the President and secretary would not reconsider."

In November, Virginia officials learned that some functions of the command could remain in the region, particularly the modeling and simulation programs, but the Pentagon has yet to say how many jobs could be saved.

Updated, 8:30 a.m. Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Sen. Mark Warner, said the Pentagon plans to re-tool JFCOM's mission, rename it and trim its size by about one-half.

"Thanks to the strong arguments presented by Senator Warner and others in the bipartisan Virginia delegation, the Pentagon has reconsidered and revamped its original proposal last August to eliminate JFCOM entirely,'' Hall said. "Now, Hampton Roads will keep about 3,000 of the 6,000 jobs associated with JFCOM, and maintain and perhaps even build upon its modeling & simulation functions in the region."

Mc­Don­nell and Virginia's congressmen have asked Gates to consider moving other commands to Virginia to compensate for the potential loss of JFCOM. Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) proposed that the Africa Command be moved from Stuttgart, Germany, to Hampton Roads.

McDonnell said the Virginia delegation asked Gates to give "some consideration for economic remuneration" to the state, as would occur if JFCOM were closed under the regular Base Realignment and Closure process.

Gates's recommendations in August 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 is part of move to cut defense spending overall.

By Anita Kumar  | January 6, 2011; 11:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Kenny Golden, retired Navy Commodore, Independent Green Party endorsed candidate for U.S. House in 2010, predicted this during the campaign.

Winslow Wheeler at the Defense Institute with retired General Anthony Charles Zinni - Winslow was the former Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Stennis of Mississpi - ...Winslow wrote an excellent article about getting the biggest bang for the taxpayer buck.

It's investing in Rail, transportation. Not on the military. Military spending is at nearly $1 trillion tax dollars a year.
The waste is significant. We must convince our big business to invest in rail, a real national security investment.

A budget is theology walking. We have a duty to each other. A duty to our communities and our nation. Install an auditable accounting system at the pentagon. Stop the out of control no bid contracts. Yes, some are necessary. Most are not.

Make real military spending cuts, not just shifts.

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And our new blog

Posted by: CareyCampbell | January 7, 2011 2:01 AM | Report abuse

Move-in other functions to "compensate" for this loss? What kind of thinking is that? Let's make a deal?

Posted by: jckdoors | January 7, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

McDonnell and other republicans are all for cutting wasteful spending unless they are the beneficiaries. also nice that cuccinelli is working so hard to prevent those 3,000 or 6,000 laid off workers from having healthcare benefits.

Posted by: MarilynManson | January 7, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

It'd high time wasteful military overspending was addressed. Let's see if the right-wing-nut republ-thugs will be able to get real jobs and quit suckling the military industrial complex t^t!

Posted by: 10bestfan | January 7, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The JFC has been a highly duplicative organization that was formed, maintained and expanded for purely political reasons. Like "jobs, jobs, jobs." For Virginia, Virginia, Virginia.

I'd recommend the 6,000 JFC country-clubbers look for work at other duplicative and wasteful federal entities, like the FBI and CIA. We hear the entrance exams are easy; just connect a bunch of dots.

Posted by: kinkysr | January 7, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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