Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Let’s Hold the Office of Net Assessment Accountable
Thursday, November 18, 2021

 
On November 4 of this year, I introduced an amendment to this year’s National Defense Bill.
 
This amendment focuses on the Office of Net Assessment within the Pentagon.
 
The Office of Net Assessment’s purpose is to produce an annual net assessment, which is a long term look at our military’s capabilities and those of our greatest adversaries.
 
In 2019, when I began to look at Stefan Halper’s contracting work for the Office of Net Assessment, something didn’t look right. So, I asked the Inspector General to look into it.
 
For those who are unaware, Halper was a central figure in the debunked Russia-collusion investigation.
 
Halper secretly recorded Trump campaign officials during Crossfire Hurricane.
 
Halper also received over a million taxpayer dollars from the Office of Net Assessment for several “research” projects.
 
But, the Inspector General found some problems with his contract:
 
·         The Office of Net Assessment didn’t require Halper to submit evidence that he actually talked to the people he cited in his work, which included Russian intelligence officers;
 
·         The Office of Net Assessment couldn’t provide sufficient documentation that Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with the law; and
 
·         The Office of Net Assessment didn’t maintain sufficient documentation to comply with all Federal contracting requirements and OMB guidelines.
 
The Inspector General also found that these problems weren’t unique to Halper’s contracts.
 
This finding indicates systemic issues within the Office of Net Assessment.
 
Moreover, this office has spent taxpayer money on research projects unconnected to a net assessment.
 
Two cases in point.
 
The office funded a report titled, “On the Nature of Americans as a Warlike People: Workshop Report.”
 
The report highlighted the “level of American belligerency which is the result of the persistence of Scotch-Irish culture in America.”
 
Another report focused on Vladimir Putin’s neurological development and potential Asperger’s diagnosis.
 
I’ve highlighted these reports for the Pentagon. And I’ve asked for records from the Office of Net Assessment relating to some of its other work. To date, they still haven’t been able to provide all the records.
 
While the Office of Net Assessment was busy wasting taxpayer money and not responding to congressional requests, China built its hypersonic missile program.
 
As a result of all these failures, I introduced my amendment to the Defense Bill on November 4.
 
The amendment would require the Government Accountability Office to determine how much taxpayer money this unit actually uses for net assessments.
 
The amendment would filter out taxpayer-funded research that has nothing to do with a net assessment.
 
In other words, it’s time we find out how much money the Office of Net Assessment needs to actually do its job instead of acting like a slush fund for irrelevant or political research projects.
 
This, in turn, will save the taxpayers potentially millions of dollars a year.

I encourage my colleagues to support the amendment.