Forbes Amendment Would Delay Joint Forces Closure
DOD’s plan to begin dismantling Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) over the next several months would be postponed until the coming fiscal year, under an amendment the House approved last week during debate over the spending bill to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. The amendment, introduced by Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes (R), would prevent the use of FY 2011 funds “to effect or implement the disestablishment, closure or realignment” of JFCOM.
The provision is intended to delay the command’s closure to allow Congress time to study how restructuring JFCOM could affect national security and the ability of the armed forces to work jointly. It also would provide Congress time to hold hearings on the future of jointness under the realigned command structure, according to a spokesman for Forbes.
“The amendment sends a clear message to the Department of Defense that we intend to exercise our constitutional oversight role prior to allowing actions that have, up until this point, an unknown effect on the future of our national security,” Forbes, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee’s Readiness Subcommittee, said in a written statement.
Before it could be signed into law, the provision would need to survive negotiations between the House and Senate over a final version of the FY 2011 spending measure.
Roughly 50 percent of the command’s 6,000 military and civilian personnel would be cut under the military’s plan to disestablish JFCOM, including about 2,300 workers in southeast Virginia. The closure is expected to save about $430 million a year.
The command would be dismantled by the end of August, with all personnel moves completed by March 2012, JFCOM Commander Army Gen. Raymond Odierno said Feb. 9. Following the realignment, core missions — such as joint training, joint concept and doctrine development, and joint integration — would be transferred to other DOD entities, but primarily to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.