We need a plan of action

Published 8:07 am Thursday, April 7, 2016

On March 22, as hundreds of innocent travelers in Brussels, Belgium began their day, they unknowingly became victims of another unspeakable attack by ISIS. This attack claimed the lives of 35, including four Americans, and injured over 300 others. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of those who have been impacted by this brutality, and America stands firmly with Belgium in seeking justice for those responsible and in affirming our commitment to defeating ISIS.

While it is important for our leaders to speak to our resolve to ensure our national security, it is more important that our leaders act to eradicate the threat of radical Islamic terror.

In December, Congress passed and the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which required the president to submit a comprehensive strategy no later than Feb. 15, to defeat the Islamic State and combat Islamic extremism around the world.  Inexplicably, the president chose to disregard the law that he signed and its requirements. Last Thursday, he finally delivered a seven-page memo to Congress over a month past the statutory deadline and only did so after the House Armed Services Committee held an oversight hearing with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at which members demanded that the administration produce a plan.

Unfortunately, the report was nothing more than a regurgitation of existing tactics that are not sufficiently neutralizing the imminent threats posed by these radical Islamic terrorists.  The White House’s memo to Congress did not provide a clear strategy to ultimately decimate ISIS and the threat of Islamic extremism, but rather glossed over the issues at hand and set forth extremely limited details.

It offered no specifics on how to encourage our international allies to step up their contributions in the fight against ISIS, nor did it discuss how to stop the spread of the Islamic State to other countries even as we see the organization establishing itself in Libya and Afghanistan and inciting violence worldwide.

With each passing day, concern continues to grow over the lack of strategic prowess by this administration and the continuing imminent threat of an attack.

Robert Hurt, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at his Farmville office at (434) 395-0120.