President Authorizes U.S. Joint Forces Command Closing

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2011 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma issued an offi­cial mem­o­ran­dum yes­ter­day autho­riz­ing Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates to dis­solve U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand.
“I here­by accept the rec­om­men­da­tions of the sec­re­tary of defense and chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and approve the dis­es­tab­lish­ment of Unit­ed States Joint Forces Com­mand, effec­tive on a date to be deter­mined by the sec­re­tary of defense,” the memo read in part.

In the doc­u­ment, Oba­ma also direct­ed Gates to noti­fy the Con­gress on his behalf.

Gates announced in August that he would rec­om­mend the com­mand be elim­i­nat­ed and its essen­tial func­tions assigned to oth­er orga­ni­za­tions. Dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Gates said about half of the Nor­folk, Va.-based command’s mis­sions would be reas­signed to oth­er orga­ni­za­tions but should be retained in the Nor­folk-Suf­folk area of Vir­ginia.

Army Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no com­mands Joint Forces Com­mand, which is respon­si­ble for the military’s joint train­ing, doc­trine and oper­a­tions. In August, Gates said that with the depth of joint expe­ri­ence now estab­lished in the ser­vices through expe­ri­ence in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world, the need for such a joint advo­cate has less­ened.

The mil­i­tary no longer requires a “sep­a­rate four-star com­bat­ant com­mand, which, in the case of [Joint Forces Com­mand] entails about 2,800 mil­i­tary and civil­ian posi­tions and rough­ly 3,000 con­trac­tors of all kinds at an annu­al cost of at least $240 mil­lion to oper­ate,” the sec­re­tary said.

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

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