Afghanistan: Questions on Strategy

Posted: Dec 09, 2009 11:04 AM
Guest Post by Congressman Randy Forbes
Ranking Member, House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee

There was a time in our country when words mattered, when laws and statutes mattered. At the heart of today’s most critical debates is the question of what is driving the Administration’s defense decision-making. The answer? It’s not the law.

I have continually been concerned with this Administration's long-term strategic defense planning, especially as it relates to our shipbuilding and aviation plans, where we have seen that strategic planning isn’t happening. In this area, the Administration has simply refused to comply with the law; the Guantanamo executive order (detail on these laws are here).

In light of this, and in response to the President's announcement of a strategy decision in Afghanistan, I have a simple question: what confidence do our allies and our troops and our citizens have that the words we are hearing now are words that have meaning and are not just semantics?

There is a growing concern that this Administration is content to allow budgetary pressure from bailout and stimulus spending to drive our defense strategy, rather than allowing our defense strategy – the only spending mandated by the Constitution – to drive our budget. 

In last week's Armed Services Committee hearing I asked Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen a series of questions under that backdrop, looking for details on a strategic plan that will ensure our troops have the equipment and the resources they need to successfully complete the mission that is ahead of them, and for evidence that our nation’s security remains a top priority for this Administration.

You can watch our exchange in this video.