NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Congressman Randy Forbes addressed local military issues during an appearance at the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Business Brief on Friday morning.
Forbes serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is Chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee which oversees military readiness, training, logistics and maintenance issues and programs, military construction, installations and family housing issues, and the BRAC process.
In his remarks, Forbes blasted the Obama administration saying that cuts proposed in the defense budget are being driven by budgetary concerns rather than national defense.
The Congressman also said attempts to move a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier to Florida is a political move.
“We, at least in the Hampton Roads Delegation, are absolutely convinced there is no national security reason at all to move a carrier from Norfolk to Mayport,” he said.
“After the 2000 election you realize Florida could determine the presidency of the United States. You quickly look and say what’s the largest city in Florida? It’s Jacksonville. What’s the largest employer? It’s the shipyard there. You say if I want to win Florida, it’s great to be able to carry a carrier there.”
Forbes stated that he believes fight for Norfolk-based Joint Forces Command, slated for disestablishmentas part of the Pentagon’s budget cuts, is not over yet.
“I think clearly, DOD is moving as fast as they can, but we’ve got a lot of provisions,” said Forbes.
“We’re still going to fight for everything that we can get out of JFCOM.”
In regards to Chinese President Hu Jintao’s recent visit to the U.S., Forbes said China’s increased military spending could have a direct impact on Hampton Roads’ economy.
“CNO Gary Roughead had said that they were going to move a carrier from the East Coast to the West Coast because they need it in the Pacific,” said Forbes, who attributed that information to an article written by California Congresswoman Susan Davis.
Launched in 2009, the Chamber’s annual Business Brief meeting in January focuses on one key sector of the Hampton Roads economy.