House OKs amendment to block Joint Forces Command closure

The House on Friday approved an amendment aimed at blocking the Pentagon from shuttering U.S. Joint Forces Command.

The amendment, offered by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), would prohibit the Defense Department from spending funds in a 2011 defense appropriations measure the House is considering to close the Norfolk, Va.-based command.

Pentagon officials want to close Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) as part of their broader internal cost-cutting effort that produced over $150 billion in savings.

Virginia lawmakers and others in Congress say the closure would eliminate crucial functions, like doctrine development and joint training. Defense officials say essential functions and offices will be maintained and shifted to other Defense Department entities.

The amendment, which passed by voice vote, "does not prevent the closure of JFCOM but delays it until Congress can hold hearings on the future of jointness under the realigned command structure," according to a Forbes statement released late Friday.

“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," states the amendment.

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