Wittman Opening Statement for Hearing on National Security Reform

Mar 18, 2009
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988 

Wittman Opening Statement for Hearing on National Security Reform 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, today released the following prepared remarks for the subcommittee’s hearing on the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR): 

“The subject of today’s hearing is indeed a very serious matter.  Since the dawn of the 21st century, the United States has faced an ever shifting, complex international environment.  Ideally, we would have an agile national security structure able to respond to the challenges as needed, but we do not.  After all, the military services, via the jointness dictated by the Goldwater Nichols legislation, is able to task organize to meet almost any mission.  But the greater bureaucracy of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government have rigid, unyielding structures and processes that struggle to organize coherent, effective responses to national and international crises. 

“This weakness has been widely recognized and studied, particularly after the intelligence failures of September 11, 2001.  One outcome of that tragedy was the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, which reorganized and better integrated the intelligence community.  Otherwise, the executive branch and Congressional committee structures were left intact.  To be fair, designing the best system to reorganize the National Security Council and half the cabinet departments is no easy matter. 

“The Project on National Security Reform has reviewed the interagency coordination problem in a thoughtful, logical manner that makes a series of recommendations for the organization of both the national security apparatus and the Congress.  While we cannot single handedly make these changes, we do have a responsibility to start the dialogue.  Our witnesses were not part of the PNSR effort and are well placed to provide an impartial view of this study.

“I am grateful to have such distinguished witnesses before us to comment on PNSR’s work and look forward to their testimony.”