For Immediate Release
December 17, 2012
Principal Contact (Global Campaign against IEDs):
Administration Agencies Remain Silent on Gallegly’s Request for a More Complete Response on Improvised Explosive Devices and Related Veteran’s Issues
On behalf of the 92 members of Congress who signed a letter to President Obama on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Veteran’s Issues, Congressman Elton Gallegly(R-CA) rejects the response received as “inadequate”
Washington, D.C. – On behalf of the ninety-two membersof the U.S. House of Representatives who sent a May 3, 2012 bi-partisan letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international actionagainst Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) called the Administration’s response “inadequate” and requested that they submit a more complete one
Pointing out that the response received only “covers in general terms all that was done and is currently being done” Congressman Gallegly noted that he and his colleagues were already well aware of those actions.
The undated response “on behalf of the President” received by Gallegly’s office was not printed on any official letterhead and was signed by Michael A. Sheehan, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Robert A. Blecksmith, Assistant Director, FBI Critical Incident Response Group.
Speaking for the Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices, the group spearheading a global effort against IEDs, COL (Ret) Bob Morris stated: “It is difficult to tell from the letter if the President actually received it. Also, its lack of a date and not being transmitted on official stationary creates the appearance it was a draft someone decided to just send out.”
Morris agrees with Gallegly’s rejection of the response on behalf of the 92 Members because it provides “no new details of how you will close the gaps we identified.”
Accord to Gallegly’s letter, the response failed to address several key requests by the 92 members including: 1) that President designate a Lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates and shares IED event data and other information with the Global Campaign against IEDs; 2) the President direct the Department of State to introduce a resolution at the United Nations condemning the use of IEDs, international standards dealing with IED precursor materials, and calling for international cooperation in prosecuting IED users under international rule of law; 3) the Department of Veterans Affairs develop a U.S. Government strategy partnered with Veterans Service Organizations, Military Service Organizations, and other public-private partners to identify the long term physical and psycho-social effects of IED related injuries.
Congressman Gallegly also noted that while the Administration’s response stated the existence of a revised U.S. Policy on IEDs, it did not provide the policy, address how new actions would be accomplished, or identify the lead agency coordinating the Policy. Although the Sheehan – Blecksmith letter stated that the government is “working with multilateral organizations and with private sector partners to advance awareness of the lED threat and enhance our collective counter-IED knowledge and capabilities,” it did not identify the agency tasked to lead that strategy across all U.S. government agencies. It also failed to address such key partners as the Joint IED Defeat Organization(JIEDDO), National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC); and did not adequately detail how the information sharing requested by the Members of Congress will be accomplished.
“With the recent criticism by the Department of Defense and Department of State in both Senate and House hearings that countries such as Pakistan are not adequately sharing information; providing and implementing their policies; and fully addressing the IED issue as part of needed global action against this threat, the inadequacy of the Administration’s response to the House Letter is troubling,” says Morris.
Congressman Gallegly’s request for a complete response was delivered to the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 14, 2012. According to the Global Campaign against IEDs, those agencies have yet to provide any further response to Congress’s letter or even acknowledge its receipt.
Those wishing to support the Global Campaign against IEDs can visit its website at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org.