Feb 5, 2019
Defense Drumbeat

WASHINGTON, DC -Ahead of tomorrow's hearing on counterterrorism operations, it is important to review the rigorous, bipartisan oversight the House Armed Services Committee applies to these sensitive military operations.

Concurrent with the Obama Administration’s increased reliance on Counterterrorism Operations (CT) to combat al Qaeda and its affiliates, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) then Chairman of HASC’s Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee introduced the bi-partisan Oversight of Sensitive Military Operations Act (OSMOA). OSMOA was incorporated into the FY14 NDAA and has been revised and updated in the intervening years. The OSMOA architecture guarantees timely, regular, and robust oversight of CT Operations and related sensitive military activities. 

OSMOA is a critical piece of HASC’s historically rigorous oversight of these critical, but often necessarily secret, operations. This oversight includes:

  • Resources of an Entire Subcommittee, Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities (IETC), to oversee CT operations, intelligence, and Special Operations.
  • 10 Hearings or Briefings Since 2016 – both public and classified- including briefings on CT operations and regional threats, joint hearings with other committees, posture hearings with Combatant Commands, and operational briefings with senior commanders and DOD officials. 
  • Dozens of Operational Notifications most within 48 hours of the completion of a CT operation, with more complete follow-on classified briefings. This is a legal requirement put in place by OSMOA. This includes notifications of operations in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Monthly CT Operational Briefings by DOD are now a legal requirement (imposed by then-Chairman Thornberry) and hosted by the IETC subcommittee.
  • Frequent Site Visits by Members and staff to agencies and commands in Washington and around the world.
  • Oversight Travel Focused on CT Operations including to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, UAE, Somalia, Kenya, and the Philippines. 
116th Congress