Battleland

Why We're Pumping Millions into a new Military HQs

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Sometimes you have to go outside the capital to find out what is going on. Take Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ recent proposal to kill the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which could cost the Norfolk, Va., area up to 6,000 jobs while saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. A story in today’s Norfolk Virginian-Pilot notes that a new $14 million headquarters for the command is now under construction, following last fall’s opening of a $15 million “joint deployment and maritime operations center.”

JFCOM's current headquarters

You might think the building boom was designed, at least in part, to keep Gates — or anyone else, for that matter — from closing JFCOM. But that would only highlight your ignorance. The new buildings had been part of a plot “to help ensure that the command would stay in Norfolk,” the paper quotes a local leader — and former congresswoman — as saying. There were fears prior to Gates’ announcement that JFCOM’s aging buildings might be cited as a reason to move the command to Orlando, where much of the Pentagon’s high-tech training and simulation work is now taking place.

And you wonder why we’re spending close to $2 billion a day on defense?

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