Republican commission panel to examine Clinton national security policies
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are forming a group of outside experts to advise them on issues of national security, and to step up examination of the Clinton Administration's international policies.
Aides revealed Friday that Lott (R-Mississippi) and Hastert (R-Illinois) decided Thursday to create an advisory group to be made up of Republican international policy experts such as former secretaries of Defense and State, and former national security advisers.
"Clearly we don't have very much confidence in the way this administration has conducted national security, and in the waning days of this administration, Republicans want to have a group of leading experts they can consult," said John Czwartacki, a spokesman for Lott.
The group will scrutinize issues such as arms control, national security
threats and leaks, and reductions in the ranks of the armed forces. They will meet periodically with Republican congressional leaders on policy analysis and strategy, and produce papers on issues and big international events such as the upcoming summit between President BIll Clinton and Russian President Vladmir Putin.
A senior Republican aide tells CNN former Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld is under serious consideration to head up the group, which will likely consist of about a dozen members.
Aides say that although there are committees and expert staffers on Capitol Hill already tasked with looking at these issues, it is useful to take a step back and get the big picture from former practitioners on what the administration is doing wrong or right and how the Republican approach differs.
Another senior Republican aide says the creation of this kind of group is also intended to help GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush "with
heavyweights defining how horrible the situation is, what Clinton and Gore have allowed to happen to the military -- establish a report card."
The aide said it would be helpful for a brain trust to start thinking through a game plan for "what would happen on day one of a Bush administration, to prioritize."