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 LevinStrange bedfellows oppose the filibuster Listen, 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 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 Sidney McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema 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 WarnerOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit MORE (D-Va.), and Virginia Reps. Glenn Nye (D), Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottNYC teacher suing DeVos over student loan forgiveness program House panel delays vote on surprise medical bills legislation Ten notable Democrats who do not favor impeachment MORE (D), Rob WittmanRobert (Rob) Joseph WittmanVirginia Port: Gateway to the economic growth Republican lawmakers ask Trump not to delay Pentagon cloud-computing contract Overnight 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 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.