SUFFOLK, Va. — The general of a military headquarters known as the U.S. Joint Forces Command said Wednesday that 2,300 workers in Virginia will lose their jobs as part of the Pentagon’s plan to trim bureaucracy and cut costs.
The command employs nearly 6,000 military and civilian personnel, with the bulk of those working at its headquarters in southeast Virginia. About three dozen positions at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas, will be cut. The base is home to a squadron operating unmanned aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another 25 to 30 percent of the command’s work force in Tampa, Fla. will also be eliminated.
The command’s mission is to train troops from all services to work together for specific missions.
The Pentagon ordered it be eliminated as part of far reaching budget cuts. The command has a budget of just under $1 billion, and its closure is expected to save about $430 million a year as many of its elements are reassigned. The command’s elimination is expected to be completed by the end of August, although some personnel reassignments won’t be completed until 2012.
“The changes are significant,” Gen. Ray Odierno said. “Going forward,we are not simply trimming down each staff element. We are making a major departure from past organization design,procedure and mindset to more effectively execute the core functions and sustain the jointness we’ve worked so hard to achieve in the past.”
Contractors will be among those hardest hit, with the number nationwide dropping to 500 from 2,500.
Officials in Virginia lobbied to retain some of the command’s job functions, and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell applauded the reorganization plan.
Virginia will retain about 1,900 jobs between operations in Norfolk and Suffolk. Roughly 500 of the command’s jobs will remain between Ft. Belvoir and the Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center in northern Virginia.
“While Joint Forces Command will still close, we were successful in retaining 50 percent of the command’s positions in the region,” McDonnell said in a statement.
The elimination of the command will free up plenty of office space. The command occupies 21 buildings in Norfolk and Suffolk. Once the command closure is complete, JFCOM will be down to four buildings. It wasn’t immediately clear who would occupy the soon-to-be empty buildings, but McDonnell said officials would work to make sure they were filled.