Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, led a group of Republicans in a news conference Wednesday to attack the Department of Defense over the brevity of a report about China's military.
The report is 19 pages long with and additional 33 pages of appendixes.
"I think that is outrageous," said McKeon, R-California. "We can't do our job if the department doesn't give us adequate information to do the things that we are required to do."
The DoD is required by law to report to Congress about China's military. Last year's report was 84 pages long with appendices.
McKeon fired off a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about the report.
"The briefers informed the committee that senior political leadership within the Office of the Secretary of Defense has implemented a new policy restricting the length of reports to Congress to 15 pages." McKeon told Panetta he was "dismayed" by this policy and asked him to rescind it immediately.
It was unclear why this has suddenly become an issue. McKeon himself says, "We got this report May 15 this year," but he didn't see the report until Wednesday.
Panetta's press secretary, George Little, sent out a statement in response to McKeon's concerns:
"The Department prepares and sends to Congress over 500 reports annually. Last summer, one component within the Department issued written guidance on report length. That guidance indicated reports should not exceed ten pages in length, except when the statutory requirements or specific circumstances dictate.
The guidance did not in any way seek to restrict information provided to Congress." Last year's longer report cost $12,000 less to prepare than this year's shorter report, according to McKeon