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Proposed bill seeks to improve security collaboration

From the CNN Wire Staff
  • Skelton, Davis introduce the measure in the House
  • The bill is modeled on the Goldwater-Nichols Act for the military
  • Inter-agency collaboration was criticized after 9/11

Washington (CNN) -- Rep. Ike Skelton took part in the debate that led to Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which established the joint military command to overcome rivalry among the four branches.

Now Skelton, the Missouri Democrat who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, wants to make a similar change to the nation's intelligence and security services.

Skelton and Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Kentucky, announced Thursday they have introduced a bill intended to improve collaboration among intelligence and security agencies.

"This is an attempt by law, not by regulation but by law, to change the culture of the national security system so that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing," Skelton told a news conference.

After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, U.S. counterterrorism efforts were criticized for a lack of coordination among agencies.

More recently, efforts to increase coordination under the umbrella of the National Counterterrorism Center came into question after the failed Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner, when it was revealed that relevant information never raised sufficient alarm to stop the suspect from boarding the plane.

"The national security apparatus as a whole is broken," Davis said, adding that the bill would create incentives to surmount longstanding obstacles to collaborative operations.

He told how he was a military officer when the Goldwater-Nichols Act passed, and he personally experienced the change brought by requiring experience in joint operations and command in order to get promoted.

"This is not going to create more bureaucracy," Davis said. "It's not about making things more complex."

Skelton said he was waiting for a final cost estimate for the bill. In the long run, the improved efficiency from the measure would bring savings much greater than the cost of the measure, he said.

The bill is not expected to be debated this year, with Congress adjourned until after the November 2 congressional elections, Skelton said.