Senate panel to hold hearing on Gates's decision to close Joint Forces Command

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s proposal to close the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) based in Virginia.

Sen. Carl LevinCarl LevinObama to preserve torture report in presidential papers 'Nuclear option' for Supreme Court nominees will damage Senate McCain's Supreme Court strategy leads to nuclear Senate MORE (D-Mich.), the committee’s chairman, granted the full committee hearing at the request of Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.). The date for the hearing has yet to be set.

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Webb and several members of the Virginia-delegation are fighting Gates’s decision to close Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., as a part of the secretary’s effort to save billions of dollars within the Pentagon’s budget.

Webb, who chairs the committee’s subcommittee on military personnel matters, called on the Pentagon and White House to suspend any actions related to the sweeping savings initiative until Congress had “ample opportunity to review the full scope of the Secretary’s actions.”

Levin said in a letter to Webb this week that he would confer with Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain 'seriously considering' issue of military base closures Senate panel votes to confirm Tillerson Overnight Defense: Trump nominates Air Force secretary | Senate clears CIA director | Details on first drone strike under Trump MORE (Ariz.), his panel’s ranking Republican, about the hearing when the Senate returns from recess in September.

“I share the Secretary’s objectives of reducing ‘duplication, overhead, and excess in the defense enterprise,’ and instilling ‘a culture of savings and restraint’ across the Department of Defense,” Levin wrote. “At the same time, I agree that the far-reaching initiatives announced by the Secretary deserve close scrutiny from our Committee.”

Webb, Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerObama's last law: Talent Act will enhance government efficiency GOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Decaying DC bridge puts spotlight on Trump plan MORE (D-Va.), and Virginia Reps. Glenn Nye (D), Bobby ScottBobby ScottThe Hill's 12:30 Report House Dems may challenge Electoral College certification Dems press Trump to keep Obama overtime rule MORE (D), Rob WittmanRob WittmanFive races to watch in 2017 VA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat Virginia governor contenders ready for battle MORE (R) and Randy ForbesRandy ForbesWhy there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary Trump likely to tap business executive to head Navy: report Congress asserts itself MORE (R) wrote to Gates on Aug. 13 urging him to conduct a review of JFCOM’s mission and activities without a predisposed intent to close the command.

“The Department of Defense has declined for two weeks to provide any additional details regarding the decision to close JFCOM,” Webb said in a statement Tuesday. “The committee’s hearing will afford us the opportunity to receive answers to the many questions that, for whatever reason, Secretary Gates has declined to provide since he announced his initiatives.”

JFCOM is one of 10 combat commands, which include Central Command, European Command and Africa Command. JFCOM was previously the U.S. Atlantic Command. With the Soviet submarine threat diminished at the end of the Cold War, the command in 1999 was turned into a training, concepts and experimentation combatant command that spans all armed services.