Best Defense

New HASC chairman’s game plan

Best Defense's congressional correspondent outlines the House Armed Services Committee's plans for 2015 and beyond.

House Members Discuss Future Of War In Iraq
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 08: U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) (R) speaks as Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) (L), Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) (C) listen during the discussion "A Way Forward in Iraq" at The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) January 8, 2007 in Washington, DC. Members of the House Armed Services Committee joined together to discuss their agenda on Iraq in the 110th Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Katie Richardson

Best Defense congressional correspondent

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) on Tuesday laid out his plans as the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. His discussion centered around his goals going into the new year and forward for the committee and Congress as a whole.

First, the Texas Republican said, he wants to focus on accountability from all directions, stating that “you don’t fix organizational problems with more organization.” In order to simplify that accountability, Thornberry said, he wants to promote an organizational culture and structure that promotes thinking.

Second, he wants to improve the acquisition system. He described the process as inefficient and inflexible, undermining American missions and costing the lives of American soldiers — assertions that prompted many questions in the Q and A afterwards.

Lastly, he detailed three capabilities that he hopes Congress, the Pentagon, and private industry can work together to develop. These are:

–increasing the number of ships and planes to demonstrate a true world presence,

–understanding new domains of warfare, such as space and cyber,

—and studying and preparing for biological threats.

He ended by saying that he hopes U.S. military leaders would not be guided by allegiances or competing responsibilities and “just shoot straight” with the committee and Congress.

Alex Wong, Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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