GOP chairman blasts Obama for missed deadline on ISIS strategy

GOP chairman blasts Obama for missed deadline on ISIS strategy
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee lambasted the White House on Tuesday for failing to submit a strategy to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by this week’s deadline. 

“Unsurprisingly the administration cannot articulate a strategy for countering violent extremists in the Middle East,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a written statement Tuesday. “Time and again, the president has told us his strategy to defeat extremist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda is well underway; yet, months after the legal requirement was established, his administration cannot deliver that strategy to Congress.” 

The 2016 National Defense Authorization Act required President Obama to submit to Congress a strategy to fight violent extremism in the Middle East. The deadline set by the act was Monday. 

Last week, the Pentagon said it was working on the report to Congress and would have it ready in the “near term.”

In his statement, Thornberry said he fears the missed deadline signals a larger problem.

“I fear the president’s failure to deliver this report says far more about the state of his strategy to defeat terrorists than any empty reassurance he may offer from the podium,” he said.

Failing to provide the strategy could also affect the 2017 Defense Authorization Act, Thornberry alluded.

“The committee is working now to shape the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act and the Pentagon has already begun requesting authorities our troops need to defeat this enemy,” he said. “Without a strategy, this amounts to leaving our troops in the wilderness with a compass, but no map.”

Thornberry also said Obama missed an opportunity to work with Congress. 

“Failing to comply with the report deadline represents more than a failure of strategic vision for the White House,” he said. “It is a lost opportunity for the administration and Congress to work together on a common approach to face this threat.”