Outrage over Pentagon cutting size of reports to Congress
Reaction from Rep. Buck McKeon
- Duration 4:42
- Date Jul 12, 2012
Reaction from Rep. Buck McKeon
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There's growing outrage on Capitol Hill over a new pentagon policy lawmakers say they're upset because the Defense Department.
-- shrinking the size of its reports to members of congress the Pentagon though is defending the policy.
Let's get into it with California congressman buck -- and he is chairman of the armed services committee.
This came up in particular with regard to -- report on China and its military capabilities.
Last year's report as I understand it ran about seventy pages congressman.
Tell us about this year's report.
Thank you for having -- John last year's report was 79 pages.
This year's report was nineteen pages I'm not quibbling about.
One or two pages what we're talking about I I didn't in asking the brief first.
They acknowledged to me that they had been told to not have -- more reports sent up to us that are more than fifteen pages.
To me it's outrageous that you would limit.
The information given the congress to let us perform our oversight duties especially on something as important as what is happening in China.
When they just increased their spending -- just over 12%.
While were cutting a trillion dollars out of our defense budget.
To pick an arbitrary number of pages doesn't seem to me the the appropriate way to -- to operate.
If they want to limit this the size of a budget Bob report.
Maybe they could say the report should be concise.
Should cover the subject matter and then.
Fully do the job but to say arbitrarily that it should just be fifteen pages makes no sense to me but the word out what's done is that -- the former.
Defense Secretary Gates found that reports that he his agency would send over to Capitol Hill would get the most.
Interest if they were short ends and -- concise.
Right so then why not say limit limited reports to one paragraph.
You know -- it just doesn't make sense to me and and and I sent the letter to the secretary asking him to change that policy I gave 124 hours to do that.
It's been 24 hours I haven't heard back from him.
-- they expect us to respond quickly to all of their request this is law in 2000 the law was set that they give us a report.
And it was late it was supposed to be march 1 we got the report may fifteenth.
So words were asking I think a reasonable request that they do not limit.
Reports to a certain number of pages.
Sold they recently requested money for reprogramming of funds.
I I think it's because they didn't ask -- sufficient amount in the budget request last year and I am sending notice of them that we are not going to approve -- those funds except for urgent needs for war fighters until they contact us and change this policy.
Well you mentioned that letter and I'll read our viewers a paragraph from it your letter to.
A lack of transparency and is harmful to constitutionally mandated.
Congressional oversight and national security.
Harmful to national security that sounds pretty serious in what way.
We think it is serious last year there -- whole sections of the report.
That we're very important that we're not let that we're not even in there addressed in the report this year why.
We understand that there was of a -- or more complete report written.
But before they -- send it to us they were ordered to pull back and and redact some of the information let me -- -- let me read part.
What the Pentagon says.
They haven't obviously responded your letter to your satisfaction but George Little -- had -- correspondent.
Say they haven't responded at all to right well he says across the department we continually strive to provide congress with the information.
And analysis it needs to fulfill its vital oversight role and to do so in the most readable and usable usable format possible.
We also seek to do so in a cost effective manner.
If they're saving money is not a good thing.
The report last year that was 79 pages costs 73000.
Plus dollars the report this year.
That was nineteen pages -- -- 5000 dollars I don't see where there's any money saving.
Generated by that.
Well this battle continues we'll see we hope you'll let us know if you hear from the Pentagon.
We'll update our viewers tomorrow on where all stands congressman but thank -- thank -- of the armed services committee thank you.