Virginia leaders fight closure of Joint Forces Command Norfolk - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Virginia leaders fight closure of Joint Forces Command Norfolk

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

NORFOLK, VA (WWBT) - The Department of Defense is preparing to make $100-billion in cuts. One of the first things on the chopping block is right here in Virginia.

Its impact on Virginia is clear. Joint Forces Command Norfolk is a key player in the Hampton Road's military community

"This is a very bad decision in my opinion," said Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Virginia) "not only for Virginia but for the United States Military."

Established in 1947 Joint Forces Command or "JFCOM" as its called, employs 4,000 civilians and 1,000 service members. It is one of 10 full combatant commands in the U.S.

Despite it's impact on Virginia, Defense Secretary Robert Gates argues that it's become an example of the Pentagon's bloated budget.

"However, they do not necessarily require a separate 4-star combatant command," said Gates. "which in the case of JFCOM entails about 2,800 military and civilian positions and roughly 3,000 contractors of all kinds."

Gates is leading an effort to cut off an endless stream of funding for national defense. Virginia leaders argue that now is not the time to begin fiddling with American security.

"It appears as though this decision is more based on dollars than it is the strategic needs of this nation," said Rep. Rob Whittman (R-Montross)

Gates believes his plan could eventually mean the Hampton Roads region could end up with more jobs. Something Congressman Randy Forbes doesn't buy.

"What we're witnessing is the piecemeal auctioning off of the greatest military the world has ever known," Rep. Forbes said.

Strong words for what is poised to become a major fight between the Pentagon and Virginia's top elected leaders.

Secretary Gates has asked for a plan to implement his cuts in the next 3 to 4 months. Its unclear at this point, what path leaders in Virginia will take to fight the proposal.

*And you can see more about the political impact of this fight on DecisionVirginia.com

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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