Reactions to Closure Announcement As expected, Virginia lawmakers foretold an economic armageddon that would result from the closure. Rhetoric was heated and directed squarely at the Secretary of Defense and the Obama Administration.8 Local politicians said they were not informed of this decision until it was too late; they also knew “job losses” in their district and state could hurt their economy…and their reelection prospects.
Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Commander of JFCOM, detailed the aspects of the closure in February 2011, stating that the majority of the cuts would be borne by contractors, but there would be some military and government civilian jobs cut.
Army Gen. Ray Odierno details JFCOM’s closure
Major US Military Command Closure Causes Concern in Norfolk
Governor Bob McDonnell remarked that “to take and dismantle the Joint Forces Command—an effective, efficient, low-cost joint command between all of our services —I believe is extremely shortsighted and not in the interests of the United States, our national security or Virginia.” Senator Mark Warner stated that there was no rational basis for the closure and it was “a no-brainer that JFCOM is one of the commands that could use more resources.” Initial reactions from Virginia lawmakers can be found here.
The size of the new organization would be around half the size of JFCOM, and would be led by a two-star general. The critical functions of JFCOM would be retained with a focus on training and education. Gen. Odierno stated that the educational aspects “will be underpinned by modeling and simulation, experimentation and lessons learned, and we’ll continue to work to better understand the environment our joint forces are operating in.” In addition, in February of 2011 Virginia received a $500,000 grant from the Defense Department’s Office of Economic Adjustment to establish a Workforce Transition Center in Suffolk. This would allow displaced JFCOM workers access to resources from various organizations at the local, state, and federal levels.11
Details of Closure Announced In November 2010, it was announced that even after JFCOM was closed, its functions would likely remain in the Norfolk/Suffolk area.9 This was confirmed in January 2011, as Secretary Gates announced “roughly 50 percent of the capabilities under JFCOM will be kept and assigned to other organizations.”10
Finally, in August of 2011, Joint Forces Command cased its colors.
A PROJECT OF CONCERNED VETERANS FOR AMERICA