Grassley amendment to defense budget would reduce power of Pentagon think tank

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker - Pool/Getty Images)

A Pentagon internal think tank, whose leadership is under scrutiny due to its leader’s connections to a key figure in the Russia collusion investigation, could have its yearly budget slashed in half and be under tighter restrictions in next year’s military defense budget.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley announced Thursday he introduced an amendment last week to the National Defense Authorization Act that would reduce the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment’s annual budget from $20 million to $10 million.

Net assessments include top secret details of long-term American military capabilities, as well as those of adversaries. The ONA’s spending by its director, James Baker, was questioned in 2016 when Defense Department whistleblower Adam Lovinger pointed out that divergent projects not related to the annual net assessment were being funded through the ONA.

As a result, the money went toward politically connected ONA contractors such as FBI informant Stefan Halper.