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Fact Sheet: Interagency National Security Reform June 25, 2010

Posted by Alexander Brozdowski in Fact Sheet.

This is the first in a new series of Fact Sheets to be released by Budget Insight, condensing key information on a range of Budget, Foreign Affairs and Defense topics.

All Fact Sheets are also available as one-page PDF documents.

Interagency National Security Reform

This information is drawn from the testimony of Dr. Gordon Adams before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, 09 June 2010.

Collaboration among U.S. government agencies is insufficient.  Accomplishing our national security goals in the face of an increasingly complex international environment and impending fiscal austerity requires the situation to improve. Those improvements can be measured, in part, by the clarity of national missions set by the President and by the rebalancing of roles between the State and Defense Department.

Disciplining the defense budget is a key component of the latter.  Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense recommends a number of near-term reforms in that regard:

  • Include defense in the discretionary budget freeze proposed by the administration.
  • End the practice of funding operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through a separate title in the budget request.
  • End the annual ‘unfunded requirements’ exchange between the armed services committees and the military services.
  • Require the Defense Department to clarify priorities amongst the numerous missions outlined in the Quadrennial Defense Review.
  • Direct the Defense Department to solicit and incorporate inputs from the State Department and Intelligence Community on the Quadrennial Defense Review’s strategic assumptions and planning scenarios.
  • Hold joint HASC-HFAC oversight hearings on mission areas where defense, diplomacy, and development responsibilities overlap, especially in security assistance.
  • Unify the international affairs (150) and national defense (050) budget functions.

Implementing these reforms will result in needed discipline for Defense Department missions and budgets.  That, in turn, will create space for more constructive interagency collaboration between the State and Defense Departments.  These reforms are not sufficient to fully resolve the problem, however.  Rather, they are near-term steps that can be used to build momentum behind more difficult and longer-term initiatives.



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