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The Pentagon has failed to produce a legally mandated policy report that outlines to Congress its upcoming plans for overseas troop deployments and the allocation of military hardware, according to an oversight report.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is required by law to inform Congress about its plans and strategy for the military. However, officials have failed to issue any policy and it could be months before a concrete plan emerges, according to Department of Defense officials who spoke to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Pentagon’s failure to craft a “warfighter support” plan for America’s military operations means that Congress cannot provide the required oversight over these critical plans.
As of mid-April, the DoD “has not established a policy or submitted an implementation plan to congressional committees as mandated by public law,” according to a newly issued GAO report.
The Pentagon says that the major policy document will not be ready until at least November 15, according to one “senior DoD official” who spoke to the GAO.
“DoD is in the process of developing the strategic policy and implementation plan,” according to the report.
The failure to provide a plan for the troop and military means that the GAO—as well as the relevant congressional committees—“was unable to evaluate the policy and plan since they are under development in DOD,” a GAO summary of the report explains.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—a sprawling annual spending bill that allocates assets to the Pentagon—mandates that the Secretary of Defense “establish a policy setting forth the programs and priorities of DOD for the retrograde, reconstitution, and replacement of units and materiel used to support overseas contingency operations.”
The Pentagon’s plan is supposed to outline and direct the armed forces on how to redeploy troops in warzones and replace various assets.
With the war in Afghanistan winding down, DoD must develop “a policy for retrograde, reconstitution, and replacement of operating forces” and then submit an “implementation plan for that policy as described.”
The situation in Iraq could also complicate the Pentagon’s war plans.
While the United States has pulled most forces out of Iraq, it recently expanded the number of intelligence officers in the war torn country.
The “high level Pentagon team” is supposed to work with the Iraq government to develop strategies aimed at combatting the recent surge in violence there, according to Reuters.