In a statement released this evening, Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, blasts the Obama administration's decision to drawdown combat forces in Afghanistan early. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the new plan earlier today.

"Announcing a change in mission in Afghanistan–before we have even validated that the Afghan Security Forces can maintain stability in the areas we have already transitioned and ahead of the fighting season–is premature," McKeon said. "While there have certainly been improvements in the Afghan Security Forces’ capabilities, the Committee has not seen a single assessment by our commanders that indicates they have any confidence in such a swift transition."

McKeon warns that the mistakes made in Iraq should not be repeated in Afghanistan: "In 2006, America made a similar mistake in Iraq. We moved before the Iraqis were ready and we were faced with near civil war. It is incumbent upon DoD to justify this change in strategy to Congress before announcing it publicly."

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