Lawmaker seeks hearing over proposed Joint Forces Command closing

Congressional pressure continues to build over Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to close the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFC), headquartered in Norfolk, Va., which employs about 6,000.

In a letter dated Aug. 13 to the leadership of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) called for a full committee hearing on the Defense Department's new efficiency program, including the proposed closing of the JFC. Gates last week announced a series of cost-saving measures that included moves to reduce spending on bureaucracy and administration.

Webb called the abrupt pace of the JFC closing “deeply troubling” and asked for a hearing to look into the “broad scope, legal implications, and potentially far-reaching impacts,” of the cost-saving measures. Webb is a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

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“Beyond its potential impact on joint war-fighting and interoperability, we question the legal basis for the secretary’s action and the analytical rigor reflected in the Defense Business Board’s recommendation,” Webb’s letter said. “DOD has not responded to a request to provide our offices with the legal opinion its general counsel made to support the secretary’s recommendation.”

Webb also was one of six Virginia lawmakers who sent Gates a letter last week that questioned the viability of closing the command amid the military’s increased emphasis on joint operations, and challenged the secretary’s legal authority to shut down an entire command on short notice.

The Senate is in recess until Sept. 13.


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Reader Comments

Wed, Aug 25, 2010 Mike Moxcey Fort collins, CO

Every congress critter wants to gut government spending in every state but his or her own. They kind of mirror the voters who elect them. In a democracy, the voters might be represented well, but that doesn't mean they govern themselves well.

Wed, Aug 25, 2010

I don't have a problem with closing JFCOM. We all know what is going to happen. The productive functions will be moved to another command and the non-productive functions will die. Overall, this is a good thing. The real losers will be the upper management as their functions will be rolled under another management structure. The work-a-bees will continue working; however, under new management. The question-of-the-hour for which everyone is waiting is "What are the productive functions?"

Mon, Aug 23, 2010

If we didn't have 5 seperate DOD command structures and c4I systems, we wouldn't NEED a 'joint forces command'. Why do we still have seperate military services? Let them keep their different color uniforms and badges for traditions's sake, but merge the back-office operations already. There is unlikely to ever be a major op involving just a single service ever again.

Mon, Aug 23, 2010 Lisa Reston, VA

They need to close it. I've been there. It's another pristine ivory tower for gov't outsourced contractors. Honestly, I can't tell you anything meaningful that they have done since that place opened. Waste of taxpayer dollars.

Mon, Aug 23, 2010 CommonSense

Joint warfare emphasis is wrong. Coalition emphasis is where we should be spending money. Coalition operations are harder than Joint Operations.

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