Pentagon breaks up Joint Forces Command

Defense Secretary Robert Gates' effort to trim the military budget got rolling on Monday.

The Pentagon announced that, as part of the "disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command" as a four-star combatant command, it is reassigning its organizations and functions to various other commands, military services and the Joint Staff.

"Our goal is to transfer streamlined, relevant joint functions to appropriate Department of Defense entities," said Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command. "We will ensure we sustain the momentum and gains in jointness while maintaining critical interaction with NATO and other multinational partners."

The reorganization to take effect this summer includes moving authority over the Joint Enabling Capabilities Command to U.S. Transportation Command, the Joint Warfare Analysis Center to U.S. Strategic Command, the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency to the Air Force and the NATO School to U.S. European Command.

When the physical moves are completed in March 2012, nearly half of JFCOM personnel and funds will remain in the Hampton Roads, Va., area, along with core missions, such as joint training, joint force provider, joint concept and doctrine development and joint integration, which will be supervised by the Joint Staff.

In January, Odierno announced that roughly 1,900 jobs would be cut. JFCOM has about 5,800 military, Defense civilian personnel and private contract workers with nearly 3,900 employees working in the Virginia towns of Norfolk and Suffolk. The remaining employees are located in Florida and Nevada.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., who had originally opposed the shake-up, told Government Executive: "I support, as a general principle, Secretary Gates' efforts to achieve efficiencies and cost savings in the Department of Defense.

"Following intense, bipartisan efforts, my concerns about the lack of consultation and cooperation in responding to legitimate requests for information and analytical data have largely been met," he said. "JFCOM's most important functions have been preserved to sustain our military's joint warfighting capabilities and many highly skilled employees will continue to perform their critical duties."

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