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Gates expected to announce closure of USJFCOM

The Associated Press was reporting on Monday afternoon that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would announce plans during a 2:30 p.m. press briefing to close U.S. Joint Forces Command.

The command, which is headquartered in Norfolk and has locations on the Peninsula and in Suffolk, employs more than 6,300 at its three locations, including more than 2,200 in Suffolk.

In July, sources told the Washington-insider newspaper “The Hill” that the Defense Business Board planned to recommend that USJFCOM be closed as a cost-saving measure aimed at helping the department of defense cut $100 billion from its budget during the next five years.

Combining all of USJFCOM’s facilities, the command has an operating budget of $703.9 million a year and a combined staff of more than 6,300 personnel. The command’s personnel figure includes military, civilian and contractor staffs.

Six members of Virginia’s congressional delegation — including its two Democratic senators — got together then in a rare moment of unity then to raise an alarm about the plan.

“There may be merit in tightening the structure of various commands within the individual services that interact with the Joint Forces Command,” they said in a statement, “but it is illogical for an independent Pentagon advisory board to recommend that we undo what our nation has worked so hard to achieve in military jointness over the past two decades.”