Pentagon Limits Congressional Reports to 10-Pages

Defense officials claim it had to do with cost, but its more likely the administration wants to keep Congress out of its business

The Pentagon has implemented a new policy of limiting reports to Congress to just 15 pages, according to he chairman of the House Armed Services Committee  Rep. Buck McKeon.

The new policy was revealed during a classified meeting when McKeon asked Pentagon briefers why their annual report on China’s military capabilities was only 19 pages, compared to 70 last year. They told him it was because of a new policy directive.

“It would not appear the justification is cost-savings, but rather an internal decision to limit the amount of information provided to Congress – irrespective of the subject matter or origin of the requirement,” McKeon said in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

McKeon said the skimpy report on China’s military was “outrageous,” adding that “this president, when he ran for office, said this was going to be the most transparent administration, and it’s unfortunate that they’ve taken this tack.”

Surprisingly, some members of Congress actually read the reports given to them. According to the Pentagon though, the rule was to make the reports even shorter than 15 pages, to just 10.

“Last summer, one component within the department issued written guidance on report length,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. “That guidance indicated reports should not exceed 10 pages in length, except when the statutory requirements or specific circumstances dictate. The guidance did not in any way seek to restrict information provided to Congress.”

But the Pentagon really can’t complain that providing reports to Congress costs too much while they’re wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on a lost war in Afghanistan. The Obama administration spent $11 billion last year just keeping all of the government’s secrets secret, which should dispel the notion that the reason they’re skimping on congressional reports has anything to do with cost.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.