Capitol Hill: If you were to boil down a letter from Rep. Randy Forbes to Defense Secretary Leon about AirSea Battle, you might put in three words: Where’s the money?
In a very polite Nov. 7 letter, Forbes asks Panetta how he planned to “make Congress part of” the process of implementing AirSea Battle. “More specifically, what is the overall fiscal program required to support the basic concept,“wrote Forbes, chair of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
Forbes tells Panetta he “would appreciate a brief to better understand” AirSea Battle, a sentiment many outside the Pentagon (and perhaps inside as well) share. While Forbes’ epistle doesn’t read as if he’s very frustrated — yet — his letter does begin by carefully noting that no member of Congress has yet been briefed on the AirSea Battle concept “or in any way made part of the process.” That sounds similar to complaints from HASC Republicans throughout the Gates’ era that they were not getting information from the Pentagon — especially budget information. If the Pentagon doesn’t move soon and brief lawmakers, I bet we’ll see this language ratchet up. If AirSea Battle is as important as the senior military leadership seems to think, they would do worse than bringing sympathetic lawmakers on board.
AOL D readers will remember that the Pentagon last week held a press briefing on AirSea Battle and announced that an office had been set up to work on the concept. It seems pretty likely that Forbes saw those news stories and is thinking to himself: Hey, those guys got briefed. What about us? After all, we’re the biggest oversight committee for the Pentagon. They’re just a bunch of hacks…