View Full Version : Money Where it Matters: Congress Continues to Fail

05-06-2006, 02:07 PM
4 May Democracy Arsenal blog - Money Where it Matters: Congress Continues to Fail (http://www.democracyarsenal.org/2006/05/money_where_it_.html#comments).

... No doubt frustrated by Congress' unwillingness to remedy the shortage on the civilian side, Senator Warner (R, VA) chair of the Armed Services Commmittee, sent the following letter mid-March to all Cabinet Secretaries aside from DoD plus a handful of other offices. (excerpted)

"Our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan requires coordinated and integrated action among all federal departments and agencies of our government. This mission has revealed that our government is not adequately organized to conduct interagency operations. I am concerned about the slow pace of organizational reform within our civilian departments and agencies to strengthen our interagency process and build operational readiness.

In recent months, General Peter Pace, USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General John P. Abizaid, USA, Commander, United States Central Command, have emphasized the importance of interagency coordination in Iraq and Afghanistan. General Abizaid stated in his 2006 posture statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, "We need significantly more non-military personnel...with expertise in areas such as economic development, civil affairs, agriculture, and law."

Senator Warner then mentions the importance of Presidential Directive 44, which came out in December 05 entitled"Management of Interagency Efforts Concerning Reconstruction and Stabilization,"

He continues: "I applaud each of the heads of departments and agencies for working together to develop this important and timely directive. Now that the directive has been issued, I am writing to inquire about the plan for its full implementation. In particular, what steps have each federal department or agency taken to implement this directive?

I ask for your personal review of the level of support being provided by your department or agency in support of our Nation's objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following this review, I request that you submit a report to me no later than April 10, 2006, on your current and projected activities in both theaters of operations, as well as your efforts in implementing the directive and what additional authorities or resources might be necessary to carry out the responsibilities contained in the directive."

This letter is significant and will be important if it kick starts a much needed discussion about division of labor and funding priorities. But I don't think this Congress has it in it to make the draconian changes needed. Just yesterday, the Senate voted 51 to 48 to give Northrop Grumman, which owns the Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, about $200 million for hurricane-related losses that the company's insurers were unwilling to pay. The vote was 51 to 48. 200 million is nearly twice what the President tried to get the post conflict office at the State Department in last year's budget. An amount that was ground into bits by Congress.

Also check out comments on this DA post...