Downsizing

Military Shutters Va. Command Center

You know the budget deficit is serious when even the military is tightening its belt. To prove that it's doing so, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced today that the Defense Department will be cutting 10 major military commands. It's part of an effort for the U.S. military to bounce back from cash-bleeding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to stay above water in these dire economic times. First on the chopping block is the Joint Forces Command based in Norfolk, Virginia, which employs 5,000 people and spends more than $200 million in annual salaries. Gates said he recognized the negative economic impact the cuts will have on the area, but stressed that some portion of the jobs will be salvaged by relocation. Overall, he said, the measures are consistent with the Pentagon's goal of cutting $100 billion over five years. The department will also seek to cut the number of independent contractors it uses by 10 percent before 2011.