Virtually everyone agrees that reducing joblessness is key to the recovery of Virginia’s economy and housing markets. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s recently announced reductions to the Pentagon’s budget by dismantling the U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) in Hampton Roads and cutting spending on defense contracts by 10% annually for the next three years. These spending cuts would cost Virginia thousands of jobs (10,000 in Hampton Roads alone, by some estimates), jeopardizing the Commonwealth’s economic recovery.
So it may come as welcome news to some that the Commonwealth’s political leaders are undertaking efforts on several fronts to address this potential economic blow.
- Governor Bob McDonnell has signed an executive order creating a special commission to advise him of steps that can be taken to save Virginia’s military installations.
- Freshman Rep. Gerry Connolly of Fairfax successfully called for Congressional hearings into the justification for the cuts.
- Freshman Senator Jim Webb has questioned whether Gates has the authority to close JFCOM without having subjected it to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.