Congress passes Afghanistan-Pakistan study group measure opposed by Panetta, Dempsey

Congress has approved the creation of a bipartisan Afghanistan-Pakistan study group in the recently passed Defense Department budget, despite opposition from its top brass.

The approval marks the end of the 18-monthlong push by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., for the provision -- which would provide $1 million to facilitate a panel modeled after the 2006 Iraq Study Group.

According to the provision, the panel would consist of five Democrats and five Republicans selected by Defense to examine "the strategic environment in and around Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as security, political, economic and reconstruction developments in those two countries."

The House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the measure this summer, but it was unclear until its passage last week if the provision would make it into the fiscal 2012 Defense spending bill.

Wolf touted the provision's passage Thursday, continuing to urge Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who served on the 2006 Iraq Study Group, to create the panel.

"We are 10 years into our nation's longest running war and the American people and their elected representatives do not have a clear sense of what we are aiming to achieve, why it is necessary and how far we are from attaining our goal," Wolf said in a statement. "The men and women who serve in Afghanistan, as well as their families, deserve a credible review of strategy in the region to ensure that we are successful."

Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey have opposed the panel in letters to Wolf. A letter from Panetta was entered into the conference record last week.

"I agree with your concern that one of the greatest risks to the progress we have made is from terrorist and militant groups that find safe havens in Pakistan," Panetta said in the letter.

"Given that the coalition is making undeniable progress, [Dempsey] and I continue to think that creating an Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group, as described in your letter and amendment to the fiscal 2012 Defense appropriations bill, is not necessary," Panetta said. "Our view is that the establishment of such a group would divert attention and resources from the implementation of the current strategy. Additionally, this assessment requirement would duplicate already ongoing periodic assessments, such as the semiannual Section 1230 'Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan.' "

Wolf has penned dozens of letters to lawmakers and administrators, including Panetta and President Obama, urging the creation of the panel. The congressman has previously said that he believes the White House, not Panetta, is responsible for blocking the measure.

The congressman also received letters in support of creating the panel, including one from retired Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak, as well as family members of troops in Afghanistan.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.