September 22, 2010
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Keeping Defense Jobs in Virginia
I have called on the White House to refrain from making a final decision on the future of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, until Congress has satisfactorily obtained a firm understanding of the process by which Secretary of Defense Robert Gates arrived at his recommendation. While I support, as a general principle, Secretary Gates in his efforts to reduce overhead costs and instill a culture of savings and restraint, the process used to achieve these goals should be clear and understandable.
At my request, the Senate Committee on Armed Services will hold a hearing on September 28 to address the full range of the proposed defense efficiency initiatives. In addition, I will file an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act this month to require the Secretary of Defense to provide full justification to Congress before any action is taken to close the Joint Forces Command. This is consistent with Congress’s constitutional oversight responsibility as we work to improve our military’s joint warfare capabilities and operations.
A decision of this magnitude poses significant implications for joint training and the development of joint war-fighting capabilities that are essential for successful 21st-century combat operations. Any proposal to close or realign the command should be guided by a clear process and analytical basis that everyone can understand. This is particularly important in light of Secretary Gates’s stated intention to consider consolidating or closing other military bases and facilities across the country.
To read more about the JFCOM decision, please click here.