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House Lawmakers Call for Greater Scrutiny of Requests for Forces Within DOD

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House lawmakers have asked the Department of Defense (DOD) to reevaluate how it deploys military forces worldwide amid the increase in the approval of additional requests for forces by combatant commands, USNI News reported Monday.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to 2021 Wash100 Award recipients DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin and Kathleen Hicks, deputy defense of secretary, on Monday citing the “need for increased prudence and scrutiny” when it comes to approving RFFs that fall outside of the Global Force Management Plan. 

“All the RFFs, and their approvals, represent more than just a failure to adhere to the existing GFMAP; they also reflect a failure to prioritize. … “Put plainly, regular circumvention of the GFMAP is leaving the services scrambling at a time when they need to rebuild the health of the force. At this rate, the desire to solve every immediate problem, regardless of its strategic prioritization, may hollow the force for the next generation,” the April 5th letter reads.

“Finally, we believe communicating the expectation that the COCOMs will only request forces for tasks that are truly mission-critical and will be more disciplined with their demand signals and accept some short-term risk to support long-term readiness, this will make the United States better prepared to face current and future threats,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers also want the Pentagon to respond to several questions, including the department’s threshold for approving RFFs, the accuracy of previous and current GFMAPs and steps DOD is taking to reset the balance between long-term readiness and near-term crises driving RFFs.

Reps. Rob Wittman, R-Va., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Michael Turner, R-Ohio, and Jackie Speier (D-Calif., were among the signatories of the letter addressed to Gen. Austin and Hicks.