Tester calls for greater transparency, accountability in military spending

Senator to Defense Department officials: ‘Proof is in the pudding’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today pushed for greater transparency and accountability in the Defense Department’s budget.

The Defense Department is the only federal department that has not conducted a full audit of its spending. Tester, speaking at a Senate hearing, said the military’s failure to open its books and account for its spending is a disservice to taxpayers and military personnel.

“When we continue to hear of the wasteful contracts in Afghanistan or the failure of the department to develop and deploy an electronic health records system in tandem with the VA, the department’s failure to meet audit readiness is frustrating,” Tester said. “We can do better. We must do better.”

Tester questioned Defense Department Under Secretary Robert Hale about how often the department works with other government agencies to save money and prevent overlapping programs.

“There’s no reason the department can’t have an audit,” Tester said. “I get the impression there’s now focus on it, but the proof is going to be in the pudding.”

Tester made his comments at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing examining financial management at the Defense Department. Pentagon spending is now nearly 60 percent of the nation’s overall discretionary spending.

Tester’s focus on cutting waste and responsible government spending helped earn him the chairmanship of the Committee’s subcommittee on government efficiency and workforce oversight earlier this year.

Video from today’s hearing is available online HERE. Tester begins speaking just after the 1:14 mark.