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 Milton LevinListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home House Democrats poised to set a dangerous precedent with president’s tax returns The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — White House to 'temporarily reinstate' Acosta's press pass after judge issues order | Graham to take over Judiciary panel | Hand recount for Florida Senate race 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 Sidney McCainMeghan McCain argues with Andrew Yang about free marriage counseling proposal Veterans groups hand out USS John McCain shirts on National Mall during Trump speech Trump is still on track to win reelection 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 Robert WarnerTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand On The Money: Fed chief warns of 'unthinkable' harm if debt ceiling breached | Powell basks in bipartisan praise amid Trump attacks | Federal deficit jumps to 7 billion Fed chief basks in bipartisan praise as lawmakers dismiss Trump attacks MORE (D-Va.), and Virginia Reps. Glenn Nye (D), Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottThis week: House Dems voting to hold Barr, Ross in contempt CBO report should spike minimum wage legislation New CBO report fuels fight over minimum wage MORE (D), Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanOvernight Defense: Latest on House defense bill markup | Air Force One, low-yield nukes spark debate | House Dems introduce resolutions blocking Saudi arms sales | Trump to send 1,000 troops to Poland House panel votes to restrict possible changes to Air Force One design 58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill MORE (R) and Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary 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.