Senate committee hearing on JFCOM scheduled for Sept. 28

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The Senate Committee on Armed Services will hold a committee hearing Sept. 28 to review a recommendation by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to eliminate the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JJCOM) in Norfolk.

The hearing was requested by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, one of many Virginia politicians who have railed against the closing of a command that employs about 6,000 people in Hampton Roads. Webb said in a statement Monday that the hearing will cover the full range of efficiency initiatives announced by Gates in August as part of an effort find $100 billion in defense spending savings over the next five years

Webb, a member of the committee, said he supports Gate’s efforts to bring efficiencies into the Department of Defense budget; however the process used should involve Congress.

“Congress has an essential constitutional oversight role in such matters,” Webb said. “Further action by the President should be suspended until Congress has satisfactorily obtained a firm understanding of the process and analysis by which Secretary Gates arrived at his recommendation. This is particularly important in light of Secretary Gates’ stated intention to consider consolidating or closing other military bases and facilities across the country.”

Webb said he also plans to file an amendment to the fiscal 2011 National Defense Authorization Act to require Gates to provide a full justification to Congress before action can to taken to close the joint command.

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