Obama decries House ban on Pentagon intelligence funds

"The administration remains committed to working with the Congress to resolve its need for additional information on DCS," according to the White House's official statement of policy on the fiscal 20'14 defense bill. 

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That ongoing work, however, "should not be limited to defense priorities in the implementation of this important intelligence collection program," according to the statement, drafted by the Office of Management and Budget. 

House Armed Services panel members want guarantees the new Department of Defense (DOD) intelligence service "is designed primarily to fulfill requirements ... that are unique to the Department of Defense or otherwise unmet" by existing agencies in the U.S. intelligence community.

Along with those guarantees, the panel's lawmakers want quarterly updates on "deployment and [intelligence] collection activities" by DCS agents, according to the panel's $638 billion defense budget bill. 

Until those reporting criteria outlined in the bill are met, House members will block 50 percent of DOD funding for the new intelligence shop.

The full defense committee passed the legislation on a 59-2 vote on June 6, after a 16-hour markup. The full House is taking up the spending bill this week. 

The new office, under the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is designed to work with its counterparts at the CIA and across the U.S. intelligence community to gather information on national security threats beyond the battlefield, according to Defense officials. 

In the end, the DCS plans to field more than 200 intelligence operatives, supported by elements from the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community. 

Initially, the primary mission of the DCS will be to home in on potential, long-term threats posed by China, North Korea and Iran while continuing to support the intelligence needs of combat troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere across the globe. 

Prior to the June vote, House Armed Services panel's Intelligence and Emerging Threats subcommittee chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told The Hill the move was designed to increase congressional oversight of the new intel service. 

"That sort of thing [is necessary] to make sure there is no gap in congressional oversight" of the DCS, the Texas Republican added. 

"I think that is a good thing," he added.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn publicly backed the DCS before Congress earlier this year. 

"We have to ... get ourselves more closer to the edge," Flynn told the Senate Armed Services Committee in April. 

"Frankly the intelligence is better there," he added.