Odierno Details Joint Forces Command Disestablishment Plans

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2011 — The com­man­der of U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand today out­lined some of the changes that will take place over the next sev­er­al months as he over­sees the dis­es­tab­lish­ment of the south­ern Vir­ginia-based orga­ni­za­tion respon­si­ble for the military’s joint train­ing, doc­trine and oper­a­tions.

Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno
Army Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no con­ducts a news con­fer­ence after assum­ing com­mand of U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand in Suf­folk, Va., Oct. 29, 2010. The com­mand is being dis­es­tab­lished as part of a Defense Depart­ment stream­lin­ing effort.
U.S. Air Force pho­to by Staff Sgt. Vanes­sa Valen­tine
Click to enlarge

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates announced in August that he would rec­om­mend the com­mand be elim­i­nat­ed and its essen­tial func­tions assigned to oth­er orga­ni­za­tions, and Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma approved the command’s dis­es­tab­lish­ment Jan. 6.

Army Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no spoke with reporters at the Joint Warfight­ing Cen­ter in Suf­folk, Va., and shared his vision for the reor­ga­ni­za­tion. “What I hope to see is that we’re able to do our job bet­ter to sup­port com­bat­ant com­mands in the ser­vices as they request help,” he said, “whether it’s con­duct­ing train­ing exer­cis­es around the world or devel­op­ing new doc­trines for Afghanistan or bal­lis­tic mis­sile defense or oth­er areas.”

Gates signed a mem­o­ran­dum this morn­ing pro­vid­ing guid­ance and direc­tion to exe­cute the dis­es­tab­lish­ment, Odier­no said.

“The changes are sig­nif­i­cant,” he added. “We will retain the most crit­i­cal func­tions and exper­tise for the joint warfight­er in an orga­ni­za­tion flat­tened for agili­ty and effi­cien­cy. But I do want to stress that this will be a dif­fer­ent orga­ni­za­tion.”

In the months ahead, stream­lined rel­e­vant joint func­tions will be trans­ferred to “appro­pri­ate Defense Depart­ment enti­ties, most­ly the Joint Staff,” Odier­no said. “We’ll ensure that we sus­tain the momen­tum and gains in joint­ness while main­tain­ing crit­i­cal inter­ac­tion with NATO, specif­i­cal­ly Allied Com­mand Trans­for­ma­tion, and oth­er multi­na­tion­al part­ners.”

Allied Com­mand Trans­for­ma­tion, based in Nor­folk, Va., is a NATO mil­i­tary com­mand that pro­vides the con­cep­tu­al frame­work for con­duct­ing com­bined joint oper­a­tions.

Odier­no said he’s required over the next 30 days to pub­lish a detailed imple­men­ta­tion plan and sub­mit it to Gates.

“Dur­ing this time,” the gen­er­al said, “I will con­tin­ue to refine the details of this plan, and will con­tin­ue to refine it as we begin exe­cu­tion of the plan.”

A two-star gen­er­al offi­cer will lead the new orga­ni­za­tion from Nor­folk-Suf­folk as deputy direc­tor for oper­a­tional plans and joint force devel­op­ment on the Joint Staff. Joint Forces Com­mand will be dis­es­tab­lished as a four-star com­bat­ant com­mand by the end of August, and all per­son­nel moves will be com­plete by March 2012.

“Today we have 33 liai­son offi­cers as part of Joint Forces Com­mand,” Odier­no said. “They will remain con­nect­ed to the Joint Warfight­ing Cen­ter. We have requests for 17 oth­er nations to join us here, and that will con­tin­ue to be pro­grammed.”

The gen­er­al said the command’s out­ly­ing cen­ters and agen­cies will be realigned and reduced for effi­cien­cy and assigned to oth­er com­bat­ant com­mands. No phys­i­cal moves are pro­ject­ed with the trans­fers.

These include the Joint War­fare Analy­sis Cen­ter in Dahlgren, Va.; the Per­son­nel Recov­ery Agency in Fort Belvoir, Va.; the Joint Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Sup­port Ele­ment at MacDill Air Force Base in Tam­pa, Fla.; and the NATO School in Ger­many.

Joint Forces Com­mand ser­vice com­po­nents include Fleet Forces Com­mand, Air Com­bat Com­mand, Marine Forces Com­mand and Army Forces Com­mand, Odier­no said, and each will revert to their respec­tive service’s con­trol Aug. 1.

The reor­ga­nized com­mand will retain 51 per­cent of its Vir­ginia work force, which will be reduced from about 4,700 peo­ple to 2,425. In the Nor­folk-Suf­folk area, the work force will drop to 1,900 from 3,800 peo­ple, and from 21 build­ings to four.

“[Joint Forces Com­mand] is one of the small pieces of a larg­er DOD effi­cien­cy effort,” Odier­no said. “That piece, though, is impor­tant, and it’s per­son­al to every­one here. I will place the high­est pri­or­i­ty on the exe­cu­tion and dis­es­tab­lish­ment and tak­ing care of all our employ­ees.”

Odier­no said he and his staff under­stand the impact the command’s dis­es­tab­lish­ment will have on its work­ers.

“We are engaged with the Office of the Sec­re­tary of Defense Per­son­nel and Readi­ness, the Navy Per­son­nel Office’s human resource offices, and the entire Vir­ginia del­e­ga­tion, both local and nation­al, as well as the governor’s office,” he said, “to make sure our work force receives the best pro­fes­sion­al career advice and place­ment assis­tance avail­able.”

The bulk of the reduc­tions will affect con­trac­tors, he said, but some mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment civil­ian reduc­tions also will take place.

“I absolute­ly agree with what we’re try­ing to do here,” Odier­no added, “but the proof will be in our exe­cu­tion to make sure that we get this new orga­ni­za­tion right.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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