Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) recently introduced a bill that calls for greater government-wide coordination in U.S. hostage cases. The bill has already gained the support of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who stated that “hostage rescue is an example of something that can only be done with a whole-of-government approach.”
Hunter spoke about the bill at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, March 18. “I think that there needs to be a buck-stops-here person,” said Hunter, whose bill calls on President Obama to task one person to lead U.S. efforts to recover American hostages.
The interagency hostage recovery coordinator would manage the work of multiple agencies seeking the release of Americans held by hostile groups or state sponsored terrorists. The coordinator would set up a task force dedicated to each hostage, and these task forces would include representatives of government agencies best suited to work on that hostage’s release.
The President ordered a review of the U.S. hostage policy in November 2014, after several U.S. aid workers and journalists were captured and killed by members of the Islamic State. Hunter hopes the President’s review will line up with the stipulations laid out in his bill, or that the terms of his bill can be an amendment to the defense spending bill for fiscal year 2016.
For more on this bill, please follow the links below.
Bill Seeks Interagency Coordination in US Hostage Cases, Associated Press