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Defense Officials Endure Tough House Panel On Counterterrorism Funding

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Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work testifies before the House Armed Services Committee concerning Fiscal Year 2015 Overseas Contingencies Operations on July 16, 2014. DoD Photo

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work testifies before the House Armed Services Committee concerning Fiscal Year 2015 Overseas Contingencies Operations on July 16, 2014. DoD Photo

Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee fired bipartisan shots at the administration’s request for $58.6 billion in emergency spending, targeting two new categories of spending for counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East and reassuring European allies.

Both initiatives came to Capitol Hill inside the larger request covering military operations in Afghanistan, with few specifics on where the money would go and no consultation with Congress before Wednesday’s hearing.

The die was cast in the opening statement from Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Cailf.) directed at Bob Work, appearing before the committee for the first time as the deputy secretary of defense. McKeon pointed out that the overall request “has little detail and contains new funds and authorities that Congress heard about for the first time in the press, rather than from the department.” That tone lasted to the session’s end, two hours later, when ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said of the counterterrorism proposal, “This is really poorly drafted,” adding, “That’s why it never hurts to t