Rep. Randy Forbes Chides White House Over Classified Strategy

Rep. Forbes pans White House over classified strategy

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A House GOP hawk lightly panned the Obama administration Monday for failing to deliver lawmakers a sweeping-and highly classified-strategy document that is intended to shape national security decisions.

[White House Denies Iran's Charge of Secret Obama Letter.]

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), a senior House Armed Services Committee member, in a Friday letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, questioned why the White House has failed for two of its three years in office to produce a classified version of its National Security Strategy. The classified version generally contains more information than non-classified version of the high-level strategy document.[Iran Threatens U.S., Persian Gulf Cities with Missile Attacks.]

"The administration has failed to submit either a classified or unclassified National Security Strategy Report to Congress in both 2009 and 2011," Forbes wrote to Panetta. "At a time when we're facing fiscal uncertainty and a complex global security environment, I believe this document is a critical part of our national security planning process."

Forbes's disclosure aligns closely with what one former Pentagon official recently told the DOTMIL blog about the Obama administration: "They never even got around to doing a classified version of the National Security Strategy." [See pictures of soldiers returning home from Iraq.]

The National Security Strategy is a sweeping document that codifies an administration's security goals and is considered a blueprint to guide decisions in that realm. The White House's national security council leads the way in crafting the strategy, with other agencies like the Defense Department contributing.

Forbes wants to know how the National Security Strategy helped the Pentagon and White House craft a new national defense plan, which was unveiled earlier this month. The plan calls for a smaller, more agile U.S. military as annual Pentagon budgets will shrink. Forbes and other congressional Republicans have skewered the strategy, saying it will make America less safe in a world full of potential threats.[Marines, Lockheed Handed Big Victory as Panetta Ends F-35 Probation.]

The former official said the lack of a classified version of the National Security Strategy "should make you question their priorities."

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