Webb says Pentagon 'slow rolling' on JFCOM shows 'lack of respect'

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is not pulling any punches when it comes to protecting the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) in his state. 

Webb on Wednesday called on the Pentagon to stop its “slow rolling” and provide lawmakers the data and analysis that led to the decision to close the command headquartered in Norfolk, Va. 

JFCOM is one of the 10 combatant commands that includes Central Command, European Command and Africa Command. Webb wants to know why JFCOM was singled out for closure and whether the Pentagon has analyzed the functions of all commands and the growth in personnel in each since Sept. 11, 2001. 

Webb has accused Pentagon officials of “stiff-arming” him and the Virginia delegation by not supplying the answers to their requests. Webb this week has vowed to block all Pentagon nominees and promotions until he receives satisfactory answers to his questions.

Webb cited the JFCOM tussle as an example of what he says has been a general lack of openness from the Pentagon. 

“There is a lot of slow-rolling going on. That requires persistence and it needs to stop,” he said at a breakfast with defense reporters on Wednesday. “It’s a lack of respect.” 

Webb made it clear that he does not have any bone to pick with defense chief Robert Gates, who announced the closure of JFCOM on Aug. 9. 

“I have great respect” for Gates, Webb said, adding that he called the secretary recently just to tell him he is doing “a great job” at the Pentagon’s helm.