Lawmakers: Keep Net Assessment Office Open

A group of House lawmakers led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces panel, penned a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urging Hagel to resist any effort to close the four-decades-old Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s strategic planning shop. “We believe it would be a serious error to further consider its abolition,” wrote Forbes, along with Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), in the Oct. 10 missive. The lawmakers said they recently learned that the Defense Department was considering its shuttering. The office has made “critical contributions” to US national security, has been “a central repository” for long-range strategic thinking—and up and coming strategists—and has been “the principal intellectual driver” of the strategies required to protect and promote US national interests, they wrote in arguing for the office’s continuation. Hagel’s office had not provided an official response to the lawmakers yet, a senior defense official told the Daily Report on Oct. 11.