The overall impact on the Hampton Roads economy from the disestablishment of Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) is estimated to range from $200 million to $300 million a year, a significantly smaller blow than was originally forecast when the Pentagon first announced its intention to close the command last August.
The region now is expected to lose no more than 2,000 jobs, with most of those affecting contractors, reported the Virginian-Pilot. Earlier this year, DOD decided to retain most of its government civilians at the command’s Suffolk campus.
“It’s not good news, by any means, but it’s not going to be as bad as we initially thought,” Old Dominion University economist James Koch told the paper.
The command, created in 1995 to encourage the military services to work together more closely, cased its colors Thursday at a ceremony in Norfolk. Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, JFCOM’s last commander, was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service medal for managing the command’s closure. He will become the next Army chief of staff.
Perhaps the most far-reaching impact of DOD’s decision to shutter JFCOM, is the setback it poses to the region’s ambition to become a national center for modeling and simulation. Leaders had hoped to compete with simulation clusters in Orlando, Fla., and Huntsville, Ala.
“JFCOM’s closure really stuck a pin in that balloon,” Koch told the Virginian-Pilot.