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What should be on new Secretary of Defense Panetta’s priority list?
Posted by Randy | July 05, 2011
Just last Friday, Leon Panetta took the reins as Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.  Right away he is taking on a number of challenges, including the war in Afghanistan, the situation in Libya, and an obligation handed down from the Administration to help get our nation’s fiscal house in order.

I believe one of Secretary Panetta’s top priorities must be performing a clean financial audit of the Department of Defenses’ basic functions. The Department of Defense represents nearly 20 percent of our entire federal budget. And while we must make it a priority to limit wasteful spending in the DoD in order to get our nation's fiscal house in order, doing so without proper review and assessment of where defense dollars are going is irresponsible.

Secretary Panetta has said “Even as the United States addresses fiscal challenges at home, there will be no hollow force on my watch.  That will require us all to be disciplined in how we manage taxpayer resources.”

One of the first steps in being disciplined with taxpayer resources is knowing how those dollars are being used. Regardless of where one stands on defense cuts – whether supportive of massive defense spending reductions, committed to looking for efficiencies, or dedicated to maintaining the excellence and superiority of our military by continuing to modernize and improve the readiness of our forces at current spending levels – all of these individuals deserve to know where defense dollars are going and that they are properly accounted for.

Last week, I joined with six of my colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to Secretary Panetta asking that he adhere to the timeline for auditable statements established in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 and that he make it a priority to obtain this goal. You can read the full letter here.

Weigh in – what do you think should be on Secretary of Defense Panetta’s priority list?
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