“Lawmakers are putting their support behind most of the Defense Department efficiency initiatives. The key word here, however, is ‘most.’
“The Pentagon’s decision to close Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., remains its biggest hot spot in its effort to save $100 billion over the next three years.
“Defense Deputy Secretary William Lynn tried to explain the department’s rationale for its plans to reduce spending on contractors, consolidate offices where it has determined there is duplication and freeze current staff levels for specific positions.
“But Lynn was unable to convince all the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee of their reasoning to close JFCOM.
“Defense Secretary Robert Gates held about 30 meetings with combatant commanders, senior military officials and other DoD experts over the last few months. Gates concluded that JFCOM was no longer needed as many of its functions were duplicative.
“Lynn said Gates decided that DoD could no longer justify a four-start command with a $1 billion budget.
“Lynn added that DoD will review the implementation of that decision to determine how much money DoD can save, and how much still is needed to maintain the joint training and joint doctrine facilities.
“Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) was the most outspoken of the committee members against DoD’s decision.
“Webb said he is more unhappy with how DoD went about telling him and the committee about their decision than the decision to close JFCOM itself.
“He said Lynn called him 15 minutes before the public found out about DoD’s plans.”