Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stars barred

When Congress returns from it's pre-election break on Nov. 15th, a deep freeze will settle over the confirmation process for flag and general officer promotions and assignments as Sen. Jim Webb [D-Va.] a key lawmaker, uses senatorial privilege to place a hold on the nominations. Usually these holds are done in secret and are of a short duration but Webb, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel subcommittee, mailed the Defense Department on Monday and issued a public statement announcing what he is doing.

Webb is fighting to try to save the Virginia-based U.S. Joint Forces Command from the closure and subsequent loss of 3000 jobs announced by Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a budget-cutting measure but has had difficultly wrestling information from the military to help make its case and will now put a hold on all nominations until the Pentagon answers questions he first posed two months ago.

The information he is seeking is a historical comparison of the size of the defense and service staffs and the size of staffs at combatant commands, which he believes will show that growth in Pentagon-based staff has been far greater than growth in places like the Joint Forces Command.

Webb served five years in the Pentagon, including time as Navy secretary and as the assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs, said he doesn’t understand what is taking so long. “This failure to respond to a request for basic information that should be readily available is indicative of the lack of cooperation that has characterized the proposal to close the U.S. Joint Forces Command,” he said in a statement. “The lack of transparency and consultation stand in stark contrast to how decisions traditionally are made.”

Senate approval is required for appointments above O-6 after being nominated by The President.

Source: Marine Corps Times

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