Last February, the Secretary of Defense initiated three new classified anti-terrorist operations intended “to degrade al Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated terrorists in the Middle East and specific regions of Africa.”
A glimpse of the new operations was provided in the latest quarterly report on the U.S. anti-ISIS campaign from the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense, Department of State, and US Agency for International Development.
The three classified programs are known as Operation Yukon Journey, the Northwest Africa Counterterrorism overseas contingency operation, and the East Africa Counterterrorism overseas contingency operation.
Detailed oversight of these programs is effectively led by the DoD Office of Inspector General rather than by Congress.
“To report on these new contingency operations, the DoD OIG submitted a list of questions to the DoD about topics related to the operations, including the objectives of the operations, the metrics used to measure progress, the costs of the operations, the number of U.S. personnel involved, and the reason why the operations were declared overseas contingency operations,” the joint IG report said.
DoD provided classified responses to some of the questions, which were provided to Congress.
But “The DoD did not answer the question as to why it was necessary to designate these existing counterterrorism campaigns as overseas contingency operations or what benefits were conveyed with the overseas contingency operation designation.”
Overseas contingency operations are funded as “emergency” operations that are not subject to normal procedural requirements or budget limitations.
“The DoD informed the DoD OIG that the new contingency operations are classified to safeguard U.S. forces’ freedom of movement, provide a layer of force protection, and protect tactics, techniques, and procedures. However,” the IG report noted, “it is typical to classify such tactical information in any operation even when the overall location of an operation is publicly acknowledged.”
“We will continue to seek answers to these questions,” the IG report said.
A supply-side tax credit (STC) could offer a tax incentive to material suppliers and professional service consultants that provide goods or services to affordable housing projects.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Commerce, and Department of Transportation should jointly develop and manage a data resource—a Housing Production Dashboard—to track housing production within and across states.
Exempting affordable housing from volume caps would address the underlying issue and have the greatest impact in this housing emergency.
To increase the supply of affordable homes, Congress should make greater investments in the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF).