NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Local officials in the Norfolk, Va., area say they are considering suing the federal government to try to stop the shutdown of Joint Forces Command.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced plans last week to streamline the U.S. military and reduce its cost. He identified Joint Forces Command, which is based in Norfolk, as a target.
The command's mission includes studying transformation of the U.S. military and coordination with NATO. NATO's North American base is in Norfolk.
The four members of Congress representing the area were among the large group of officials at a meeting Wednesday, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Politicians from both parties were unanimous in opposing the closure, which could mean the loss of 6,000 jobs.
U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., raised the possibility of a lawsuit.
"We need to slow this process down," Forbes told the group. "We can't take the possibility of litigation off the table."
One possible basis for a lawsuit is the argument that Gates has no authority to eliminate the command without congressional approval.