Senior HASC Official Pushes Back on Office of Net Assessment Moves

A senior member of the House Armed Services Committee is pushing back against the Pentagon’s plan to remove the Office of Net Assessment from its direct access to the Secretary of Defense, saying the move will compromise the objectivity of ONA’s work. In a host of recently announced organizational changes, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the Office of Net Assessment, led by strategist Andrew Marshall, will be placed under the management of the undersecretary of defense for policy. The office, however, has vocal defenders in Congress who charge the move will erode ONA’s value—which involves analysis of long-term threats and trends and how they affect US security interests. The proposal is a “truly foolish decision,” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the HASC seapower and projection forces panel, said in a statement to the Daily Report. Moving ONA under OSD Policy would compromise its independence, and make it vulnerable to political pressure, Forbes added. Since the office’s founding in 1973, Marshall has reported directly to the SecDef. “We need to build a plan to make (ONA) just as successful in the next 40 years,” Forbes added.