Since the elections in November, there’s been a lot of discussion about plans by the incoming Democratic leadership to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations. Advocates of the idea have touted it as a critical and timely response to issues left unaddressed in the last two years, with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi making their implementation “one of the centerpieces of her “first 100 hours” legislative agenda” according to the Washington Post. Skeptics have scoffed at this notion, with the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano telling the AP in late November that “I don’t think there’s a lot more to do there” and “I think we’re done.”
Amidst all of this rhetoric, there’s an easy way to resolve this dispute: go to the source. That’s what I’ve done over the last two weeks, going one-by-one through the each of the 41 recommendations in the 9/11 Commission Report, looking at what’s been done to date, and analyzing what the 110th Congress could potentially do to make progress on each and every one of these recommendations.
You can read the complete analysis in this 25-page paper:
Overall, I think the analysis shows that there is a lot that the incoming Congress can do to respond to the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, not only in terms of authorizing legislation, but also in terms of funding, oversight, investigations, public communications, and personal outreach. These recommendations are neither a panacea nor a finish line (there is no finish line against a constantly evolving threat), but they are still a useful set of recommendations that can improve our counterterrorism, homeland security, and intelligence capabilities, and they are part of a credible security agenda for the next Congress.
Update (12/9): As mentioned in a comment below, the Congressional Research Service issued a report this week on the same topic, which I first became aware of yesterday after publishing my analysis.