Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Armed Services Committee Republicans Draw Attention to New Report on Iran’s Military

House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), Armed Forces Strategic Forces Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Turner (R-Ohio), and Republican members on the committee today called attention to elements included in and certain information excluded from the Department of Defense’s Military Power Report on Iran. The report, which was mandated in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, is designed to provide Congress and the Administration with an assessment of the Iranian regime’s current and future military strategy.

Rep. McKeon: “The Pentagon’s new report confirms Iran’s efforts to support and cultivate terrorist surrogates throughout the Middle East to attack American citizens and interests. The rogue regime has re-armed Hezbollah and provides the terrorist group hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The assessment also makes it perfectly clear that Iran has gone to great lengths to protect and hide its nuclear infrastructure. Nearly as troubling, Iran is developing anti-access, aerial-denial capabilities with its investments in mobile coastal defense cruise missiles, rockets launchers, coastal artillery and ballistic missiles.”

“Unfortunately, the report failed to include information that is critical to truly assessing Iran’s military capability and future intentions. The Department of Defense failed to provide adequate information on the funding provided to each branch of Iran’s military, the Revolutionary Guards-Quds Force or the country’s special operations forces. Additionally, the report lacked specific information about Iran’s regional strategy and military doctrine—and failed to provide a sufficient assessment of Iran’s conventional or unconventional capabilities.”

“In addition to my concerns about what is not included in the report, I’m bothered by the Administration’s attempts to downplay Iran’s militant ideology in the report. I question the Department’s assessment that the goal of the Iranian strategy is ‘the survival of the regime’ and its ‘ideological goals have taken a back seat to pragmatic considerations.’ This flies in the face of the regime’s efforts to export the Ayatollah’s radical religious vision beyond Iran’s borders.”

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio): “Despite the Administration’s insistence last September that the long-range missile threat was slower to develop, the Administration’s own report confirms that Iran could develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. by 2015. Therefore, I remain gravely concerned that Administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach is not designed to protect our homeland until 2020. I will look to include specific initiatives in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011to address Iran’s development of missile capabilities and the ensure the U.S. homeland and our Allies are adequately protected before the threat develops.”

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.): “The Iranian regime has done nothing to prove itself as anything but a threat to the United States and our allies in the Middle East and Europe. The Administration is doing a disservice to our military by failing to produce a candid report on the military strength of the Iranian regime,” said Congressman Bill Shuster. “I am particularly concerned that the Administration’s report omits significant information about their development and deployment of active denial systems that could defeat our inventory of short and long range missile systems. This is critical information that will have a important impact on the security posture of our interests in the Persian Gulf and that of our allies. This omission must be corrected.”

McKeon and Turner indicated that they will look to include specific initiatives in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 to force the Administration to develop a comprehensive, long-term strategy to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and military build-up. The House Armed Services Committee is expected to consider the annual defense policy bill in May.

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