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Published 11:31 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

Hundreds of JFCOM workers placed with other commands

On the heels of the news that hundreds of civilian servants in Hampton Roads will be able to keep their jobs at U.S. Joint Forces Command, Congressman J. Randy Forbes announced that his provision halting funding for the command’s closure is about to be signed into law.

On Thursday, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the commander of JFCOM, approved reorganization plans that allow civil servants in the area to be placed with new commands rather than losing their jobs.

The changes will “maximize mission effectiveness in the new organizations, preserve the critical joint expertise embodied by our current workforce, and ensure continuity of operations in essential missions and functions,” said Kathleen Jabs, director of public affairs at JFCOM, in an emailed statement.

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JFCOM, one of 10 combatant commands in the country, is charged with geographic placement of U.S. forces, the development of future military doctrine and training forces to work jointly with each other and other nations in the field.

President Barack Obama approved the disestablishment of JFCOM in January. The potential closing had first been announced in August.

JFCOM employs about 4,700 in Virginia, about 3,900 of whom work in Norfolk and Suffolk. After the disestablishment, Odierno said in February, about 1,450 of the 1,900 Suffolk employees will keep their jobs. The disestablishment is expected to be completed by August.

Meanwhile, Forbes’ provision in the continuing resolution budget bill will halt funding for the dismantling of the command until the Department of Defense provides Congress with analysis of cost savings, strategic and operational consequences and local economic impact of the closure.

“The Secretary of Defense now has a choice: he can clear the cloud of secrecy and provide Congress with the relevant information, or he can continue stonewalling and not see a single taxpayer dollar go toward closing JFCOM.”

The measure does not prevent the closure of JFCOM, but it withholds all funds from being used toward the disestablishment unless, within the next 120 days, the Secretary of Defense submits plans for the closure that include projected savings, a cost-benefit analysis, budgetary impact statements, strategic and operational analyses and local economic impact studies, including a list of affected businesses. The plans also must make clear the resources available to the affected communities.