Reported Shortcomings

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Last week, the Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee were upset to learn that the Pentagon had imposed a 10-page limit on most reports to Congress. Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman, complained in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that the guidance “reeks of obstructionism, a lack of transparency, and is harmful to constitutionally mandated congressional oversight and national security.” Panetta promptly folded and scrapped the edict, put into place last year by an underling.

Battleland has read (ok, skimmed) hundreds of Pentagon reports over the past 33 years. Key lesson: the longer they are, the less they say. More to the point, folks who believe longer reports are better reports also probably believe that spending more money on the Pentagon leads to a stronger national defense.