For the first time in history, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has rejected a major Defense Department strategic review.
The Department of Defense is legally required to submit the Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress every four years to provide long-range vision and planning for potential future conflicts.
“Unfortunately, the product the process produced this time has more to do with politics than policy and is of little value to decision makers. For that reason, I will require the department to rewrite and resubmit a compliant report,” House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a scathing statement after receiving the review Tuesday.
Committee spokesman Claude Chafin confirmed to TheBlaze this was the first time a chairman has rejected the report and asked for it to be resubmitted.
“In defiance of the law, [the review] provides no insight into what a moderate-to-low risk strategy would be, is clearly budget driven, and is shortsighted. It allows the president to duck the consequences of the deep defense cuts he has advocated and leaves us all wondering what the true future costs of those cuts will be,” McKeon said.
McKeon said he will introduce legislation requiring the Defense Department to resubmit an acceptable review.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defended the review, while admitting the report reflects current budget woes.
“These continued fiscal constraints cannot be ignored,” Hagel said in a statement. “It would be dishonest and irresponsible to present a [review] articulating a strategy disconnected from the reality of resource constraints. A strategy must have the resources for its implementation.”
The review’s release coincided with that of President Barack Obama’s new budget proposal, entailing $600 billion in new spending initiatives and which drew strong reactions from Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
“As the 2014 elections hang in the balance, President Obama and his fellow Democrats would rather present an unserious, political budget instead of addressing our nation’s long-term fiscal problems,” Priebus said.
A Pentagon official told TheBlaze that Hagel looks forward to “discussing” the rejected review and the budget later this week with the House Armed Services Committee.
Among many other cuts, the budget includes a sharp drawdown in the size of the Army, calling for a reduction to 440,000 active duty soldiers from the current size of 520,000, while “ensuring the force remains well trained and equipped,” according to the Defense Department.
Defense officials answered questions Tuesday about the budget and Quadrennial Defense Review. You can watch that briefing here:
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