DOD rescinds report length limit after outcry

A day after the House Armed Services Committee chair derided the Defense Department for imposing length limits on reports to Congress, Pentagon officials have rescinded the short-lived policy.

DOD spokesman George Little on July 12 clarified the policy and said that the department’s reports to Congress would no longer be limited to 10 pages, a new policy that had angered Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) when he learned of it July 11.

“The issue that arose yesterday related to guidance that was issued last year suggesting that inside the policy directorate, inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense, that congressional reports, to the extent possible, be limited to about 10 pages. It not a hard-and-fast 10-page limit,” Little said, adding that the guidance had been “misinterpeted.”

Little emphasized there is no longer a page limit on reports, effectively immediately.

“Reports to Congress should still be concise and well-written, as well as relevant and timely. However, there is no page limit,” Little said. “Congressional reports should be as long as necessary to ensure that they fully answer the questions posed by Congress.”

McKeon had accused the White House of violating its own transparency policies and the Pentagon of purposely limiting the amount of information shared with Congress. He wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demanding a response within 24 hours.

When that didn’t happen, McKeon reportedly threatened to withhold more than $8 billion in reprogramming funding requested by DOD last month, according to The Hill.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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