Amendment passes to delay JFCOM closure

Published 11:59 pm Friday, February 18, 2011

Not giving up: The U.S. Joint Forces Command Joint Warfighting Center in North Suffolk. The command is in the middle of a legislative battle to delay its closing.

The House of Representatives passed a measure Friday evening that would prevent the use of funds to close U.S. Joint Forces Command for the fiscal year.

The move, which now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration, would allow Congress time to study how restructuring the command could impact national security and the ability of the Armed Forces to work jointly.

“That culture of secrecy and defiance ends today,” Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-04) said Friday. “Members of Congress from across the country have made it clear that we will no longer allow the Department of Defense to exercise blatant disregard for Congress’ oversight responsibilities.”


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Defense Secretary Robert Gates recommended the closure in August among a slate of cost-cutting initiatives. The command employs several thousand in Hampton Roads, including about 2,000 at a facility in North Suffolk.

In January, President Barack Obama signed off on the closure after months of efforts by the state’s legislators to block the move. JFCOM commander Gen. Ray Odierno said earlier this month that the command will shed about 50 percent of its jobs across all its locations.

“Over the past couple years, the Pentagon has refused to provide shipbuilding and aviation plans to Congress as required by law, placed ‘gag orders’ on senior defense officials preventing them from providing information to Congress, refused to send specific witnesses requested by the House Armed Services Committee, failed to meet deadlines for requests for documents related to defense cuts, withheld information from Congress on defense decisions and failed to supply cost-benefit analysis for its move to shutter one of our nation’s 10 military commands,” Forbes said in a press release.

Forbes introduced the amendment into the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution, a spending bill. The move does not prevent the closure, according to the press release, but delays it until Congress can hold hearings on the future of jointness under the realigned structure.

The amendment reads, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to take any action to effect or implement the disestablishment, closure, or realignment of the United States Joint Forces Command.”