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Kelly’s National Security Transparency Act Seeks to Increase Accountability for “Acting” National Security Leaders

February 27, 2020

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, a member of the Oversight National Security subcommittee, introduced the National Security Transparency Act. This legislation would require senior national security leaders serving in an ‘acting' capacity to regularly appear before Congress to ensure appropriate oversight on these critical departments.

"When it comes to our nation's most senior national security leaders, the American people deserve transparency and accountability. There is a clear process for Senate confirmation, but this Administration has consistently used the ‘acting' denotation to skirt these rules and limit Congressional oversight of our national security," said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, member of the Oversight National Security subcommittee. "The American people deserve better. They deserve to know who is responsible for protecting their families and our security. Congress must hold these individuals and any Administration accountable to the highest level of oversight and transparency to protect our national security."

Analysis from the Washington Post found that an acting Secretary of Homeland Security has been in place for more than 440 days out of the first three-years of the Trump Administration; an acting Secretary of Defense has been in place for more than 203 days.

Under the National Security Transparency Act, any acting Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, CIA Director, NSA Director or Director of National Intelligence (DNI) would be required to appear and testify before Congress every 45 days until confirmed by the U.S. Senate or issued a waiver by the Committee chairperson.

"When it comes to protecting and preserving our national security, we need a whole of government approach. This legislation will ensure that Congress continues to play a key role in supporting and holding accountable our national security leadership," added Congresswoman Kelly.