Politics

Thornberry: White House micromanagement is 'absolutely unbelievable'

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday slammed the White House for micromanaging the fight against the Islamic State, saying it's thwarting any chance for success.

"The military has to be in charge of the military campaign against [the Islamic State]," said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas. "The level of micromanagement is absolutely unbelievable."

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He said that during a visit to Afghanistan in September, service members told him National Security Council staffers were calling them directly to find out how much fuel was in the jets being sent on bombing missions as an example of how closely the White House supervises the selection and destruction of targets in the region. It's that close supervision, he said, that has led to 75 percent of all air sorties coming back without dropping any bombs.

"It's interesting to me that the French have carried out all these bombing runs over the past couple of days all on targets that we gave them," Thornberry said. "The question is why haven't we hit those targets already? They were all packaged up, ready to go, and the French are willing to engage those targets and we're not."

Concerns about micromanagement of the Pentagon by White House staffers aren't new. Former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta both complained in their memoirs of White House micromanagement, and their successor, Chuck Hagel, also reportedly was kept on a tight leash by the administration.

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