By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, March 22, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on Brussels Belgium that killed 34 persons and wounded over 220. Later that same day in Washington, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) demanded that US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter produce an overdue report to Congress outlining the US military strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to information provided by Congressman Byrne’s office: “Section 1222 of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama, required the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress by February 15, 2016 that outlined a strategy for US military operations in the Middle East and to combat violent extremism. The report has yet to be submitted. Section 1222 of the law reads: “(a) STRATEGY REQUIRED.—Not later than February 15, 2016, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State shall jointly submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a strategy for the Middle East and to counter violent extremism.”
Rep. Byrne said, “Mr. Secretary, obviously we are hearing today of tragedy. Tragedy for the Belgians. Tragedy for the world. ISIS has now taken responsibility for the murders this morning. We had a Marine that was killed last weekend in Iraq. We have a law that we passed called the National Defense Authorization Act. It required you to submit to the Congress, by February 15, a plan for defeating these people. I know you told the Chairman that it was imminent. You have failed to do it by February 15. You are in violation of the law. When an average American violates the law there are consequences. Would you care to explain to the Committee why there shouldn’t be consequences for your failure to follow the law that was signed by your President?”
Secretary Carter said, “It will be in front of you imminently…”
Rep. Byrne said, “Mr. Secretary that’s not my question. The statute says you shall do it by February 15. Do you not agree that you are in violation of that law?”
Secretary Carter replied: “We are prepared…we are going to submit that report. It has taken some time…”
Congressman Byrne said, “I’m going to ask you again. Do you not agree that you are in violation of the law?”
Sec. of Defense Carter answered, “We will have that report to you shortly Congressman.”
Rep. Byrne responded, “I don’t think that’s a satisfactory response. When we pass a law around here, it means something. Now people’s lives are at stake. You know that better than any of the rest of us. I don’t think it is too much to ask that you comply with the laws that we pass and the President signs. So it is not sufficient for you to say that it is imminent. You need to give us a plan now.”
Meanwhile ISIS has launched attacks in the past months on Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino, killing hundreds of westerners.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.