Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that a major new initiative, the House and Senate Majority's National Security Advisory Group (NSAG), will review the United States' performance on national security matters since 9/11 and recommend solutions to address shortcomings and failings in our current national security posture.
The Restoring America's Power and Influence project will examine the current state of our national security, how we got here, and what needs to be done to address current shortcomings and failings. It will identify concrete actions to restore America's moral authority, leadership, security, and strength in key regions. The group's work will be published later this year to help inform and shape the national debate.
Speaker Pelosi said: "Democrats are committed to making the safety of the American people our top priority. The advisory group has been an invaluable resource, and their latest initiative is the next step in our efforts to take America in a new direction and make our nation more secure."
Leader Reid said: "Five years after 9/11, America is less secure. The American people have asked Congress to provide a new direction to more effectively fight terrorism and protect America's national security interests around the world. The National Security Advisory Group's study will help the House and Senate provide that new direction."
Former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, Chairman of the NSAG, said, "I am honored to lead this review and I look forward to this expert group providing to all Members of Congress and the nation the best advice possible on how to better craft a strong national defense."
Background on the National Security Advisory Group
The House-Senate National Security Advisory Group was originally commissioned by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and House Democratic Leader Pelosi in 2003 and produced a series of reports to shape the House and Senate agenda in the 108th Congress. Senator Reid and Leader Pelosi asked the Group in the 109th Congress to produce reports on the threat of nuclear terrorism and on the alarming deterioration of military readiness, which helped shape the national debate on these vitally important issues.
The NSAG's January 2006 report on military readiness, The U.S. Military: Under Strain and At Risk, available here, helped focus the House and Senate on the long-term effects of Iraq deployments on the equipment and readiness levels of the Army and Marine Corps. Finding that readiness had sunk so low that not a single non-deployed Army brigade was combat ready, the NSAG analysis prompted a number of Senators and Members of Congress to lead efforts to address this readiness crisis in funding bills throughout last year and continuing into this year.
The NSAG's July 2005 report on nuclear terrorism, Worst Weapons in Worst Hands, available here, focused the House and Senate's attention on the setbacks to American national security due to the inability to prevent Iran and North Korea from pursuing nuclear ambitions and the insufficiency of efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.
The Group's membership also includes former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General John M. Shalikashvili, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Wesley K. Clark, former White House Chief of Staff John D. Podesta, former national security advisor Samuel R. Berger, former deputy national security advisor James B. Steinberg, former Assistant Secretaries of Defense Ashton B. Carter and Graham T. Allison, former Assistant Secretaries of State Susan E. Rice and Thomas E. Donilon, former Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense Michèle A. Flournoy and Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall, and former State Department Counselor Wendy R. Sherman.