Washington, DC – Today the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee heard testimony regarding the recent report from The Project on National Security Reform.
“It is evident that a lot of thought went into the Project on National Security Reform, unfortunately it doesn’t answer some of the questions we hoped it would,” commented Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR). “Most importantly, it does not address the question of how to enable the government, amidst the distractions of urgent but transitory crises, to think and plan more strategically.”
Snyder continued, “In addition, it shows a certain naiveté in proposing that all of its recommendations, across the whole of the Executive Branch and the Congress, must be implemented in their entirety in order to improve government operations. I believe that we can actually move forward, perhaps incrementally, with both big and small steps to improve interagency operations and the strategic agility of the government.”
“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,” Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA) said. “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.”
The House Armed Services Committee has a long standing interest in interagency issues, and the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee held several hearings on this subject. Congress required an independent review of the overall national security system in the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act, and the Project on National Security Reform conducted the study, releasing its 700-page report last December.
The report focuses on how the National Security Council, Congress, and the Departments and agencies contend with national security issues, concluding there is currently no structure at the interagency level that ensures integration of all of the tools of national power. The report puts forth numerous recommendations for how to solve this problem.