Virginia’s governor, Sen. Warner and other members of the congressional delegation met for more than an hour today with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and afterwards the Virginians were cautiously optimistic about preserving significant pieces of Joint Forces Command in Hampton Roads.
On August 9th, Secretary Gates announced a plan to shut-down JFCOM, which employs 3,900 people in Hampton Roads and 6,000 altogether.
State officials described it as “a productive meeting,” but cautioned that Gates made no promises, according to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.
“This is still a moving target,” McDonnell said after the meeting. The Pentagon did agree to allow state advisors and military experts to be involved in meetings with Gen. Ray Odierno, a four-star general who recently took command of JFCOM, about the specifics of disassembling the command and what to do with its various components.
Senator Warner noted that the federal government has invested $270 million in facilities in Suffolk alone, and would have to pay $60 million to break leases if they left completely.
Gates also agreed to allow state officials to consult with the federal government about his goal of reducing support contracts by 30 percent – a major concern in northern Virginia, home to many defense contracting companies.