Governor Bob McDonnell today spoke to the first full meeting of his Commission on Military and National Security Facilities at the State Capitol in Richmond. Commission members further discussed the recent announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to close the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) in Hampton Roads and reduce the use of contractor expertise by 30% over the next 3 years. The decision was made without any consultation or notice; there has been no transparency and the Department of Defense (DoD) did not provided any empirical data to justify these actions. The commission members voiced strong opposition to the way the process has been conducted as well as the chilling effect the announcement has had on the Hampton Roads community and the long term damage the loss will cause not only in Hampton Roads, but all across the Commonwealth. In addition to the co-chairs, former-congressman Tom Davis (R-Va) and Owen Pickett (D-Va), today's meeting was attended by Congressmen Glenn Nye (D-2nd), Bobby Scott (D-3rd), Randy Forbes (R-4th) and Gerry Connolly (D-11th).
Speaking at today's meeting, Governor McDonnell remarked, "The proposal to close the U.S. Joint Forces Command will drastically effect America's powerful defense forces. The mission of the Command is extremely important to the success of this Nation's war-fighting capabilities. The command provides ready, capable joint forces training to meet the nation's war-fighting requirements. It also supports the development and integration of joint, interagency, and multinational capabilities to meet the present and future operational needs of the United States in multinational engagements. I have the utmost confidence in our commission to open the lines of communication with the Defense Department as well as prevent any final decisions from the President that would negatively impact the thousands of Virginians who are employed at the U.S. Joint Forces Command, as well as Virginia's economy that relies on it."
The Governor's Commission on Military and National Security Facilities was formed through Executive Order #22, and in response to conversations during a February meeting with Virginia's Congressional Delegation about the need to proactively protect and retain existing federal activities in Virginia and aggressively seek to grow and attract additional economically beneficial federal activities. That same day, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced his proposal to close the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and drastically reduce the Defense Department's use of civilian contractors who provide vital national security services, and scalable support to this nation's war fighting capabilities.