The Congressional committees that handle defense, foreign policy, and intelligence operate independently of each other and rarely work together to address common challenges in today’s global world, and issues that cut across the international and domestic arenas (such as immigration, energy, and trade) are primarily addressed by committees that focus on domestic matters (judiciary, energy, and ways and means/finance, for the above examples).
Years of inadequate funding have also weakened U.S. development capacity, hindered the State Department and USAID’s capacities to undertake large-scale development assistance programs. This has created incentives for “expensive short-cuts,” such as no-bid contracts, and encouraged administrations to by-pass existing structures and create new programs for specific regions or problems. King notes the dramatic differences between the Defense Department budget that at times receives more than it wants from Congress, while the State Department and USAID must “beg for attention.”
Will timing of the report find conditions ripe for change? With a large number of new lawmakers coming to town in January, growing bipartisan support for a national security budget, and efforts to review consolidation, there is an opportunity for Congress to do its part in adapting to the new national security world in which we live.