WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced legislation which would bring the National Security Council (NSC) back under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
In recent days, the past three Secretaries of Defense have highlighted their significant concerns that the NSC’s unelected, unconfirmed staffers are micro-managing our military, making operational decisions, and undermining our commanders in the field and leaders in the Pentagon.
The NSC maintained an active FOIA program and responded to requests under Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush until a 1996 court case overturned its participation in FOIA. In the time since, the NSC has grown exponentially in size with each president expanding the NSC’s roles and decision-making authority far beyond what was originally intended. Under President Obama alone, the size of the NSC has doubled from 200 people to 400.
“The increasing micromanagement from the White House directly reduces the amount of oversight that Congress can have and undermines the authority of the Department of Defense,” Walorski said. “This legislation is critical for this and future administrations and serves as a public reminder that presidents cannot avoid public scrutiny or accountability by consolidating authority in the White House.”
H.R. 4922, the Transparency in National Security Act, recognizes the importance of transparency and the rising size and influence of the NSC by bringing it back under FOIA.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.