Don't Scrutinize the Pentagon

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is pushing a series of sweeping proposals that would weaken congressional oversight of the Pentagon. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Pentagon officials also are drafting proposals to ban strikes by contract workers, eliminate federal personnel rules protecting civilian workers at the Pentagon and bypass environmentalists in Congress. Some proposals are more provocative. They include allowing the Pentagon to send its initiatives directly to Capitol Hill before other agencies could review them. Once there, the legislation would require Congress to vote quickly, with only limited debate." Cindy Williams, a former director of national security studies for the Congressional Budget Office, notes that these proposals are coming from "an administration that for a year and a half has been consistently secretive about everything, and has a record of trying to preserve their secrets even from people within the government who should know them, so this has to be seen within that context."