Forbes, Suffolk still at work on JFCOM

Published 10:43 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2010

While Virginia’s congressional representatives continue to push against the recommended closing of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Suffolk officials are marshaling their resources to resist the closure and attract even more businesses to the city.

Congressman J. Randy Forbes this week announced the House Armed Services Committee will not approve any money or pass legislation related to JFCOM’s closure until the committee receives all the documents and information it has requested from the Department of Defense.

In his letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman Ike Skelton said “Previous recommendations of this magnitude included significant documentation to support decisions made by the Secretary of Defense. However, notably absent from the package provided to the committee was any analysis justifying the decision to disestablish U.S. Joint Forces Command. The department also has not provided the committee with information about the existence and availability of such guidance and analysis.”

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“Furthermore,” Skelton’s letter continued, “over the course of the hearing, it became clear that much of the information the committee requested is still being formulated.”

Forbes called Skelton’s commitment to deny funding requests “an important step in pushing back against the tapestry of silence this administration is weaving throughout the Pentagon.”

Suffolk officials are at work on the issue, too. Kevin Hughes, Suffolk’s economic development director, told City Council Wednesday his department is concentrating on attracting new and diversified businesses and industries to the city, along with recognizing the loyalty of existing businesses.

“It’s a well-diversified pie as it relates to the city of Suffolk,” Hughes said, referring to a pie chart that shows each industry’s share of capital investment. Recent coming-soon announcements have included technology companies as well as retail stores.

“We are currently working a project in every one of these target areas,” Hughes said.

He referred to the seven target industries — modeling, simulation and technology, medical, advanced manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, retail, hospitality and food and beverage processing — on which his department concentrates.