- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Pentagon reportedly is mulling cuts to its geographical combatant commands, including abolishing the recently formed U.S. Africa Command and merging U.S. Northern and Southern Commands into a Western Hemisphere Command.

The potential changes could eliminate more than 5,000 civilian and military jobs as the Pentagon tries to effect about $500 billion in automatic spending cuts over the next decade, Defense News reported, citing defense sources.

Calling the plans “notional,” Defense News reported that the Joint Chiefs and other defense officials have been exploring options for realignments and closures since last year. Changes being considered include:

• Combining Northern and Southern Command to form what what some are calling an “Americas Command” or a “Western Command.”

• Dissolving Africa Command and dividing its resources among European Command and Central Command.

• Expanding Pacific Command to include Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are currently part of Central Command.

“Combining combatant commands is certainly not something that we want to do, but something that we have to consider because all cuts have to be on the table,” a defense official told Defense News.

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