Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report

Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report
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A bipartisan group of 31 House lawmakers sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday demanding answers after a news report alleged the Pentagon tried to hide a study that showed $125 billion in waste. 

House Oversight Committee members said in the letter they "question why learning about potential savings that would be enough to 'cover the operational costs for 50 Army brigades, or 3,000 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force, or 10 aircraft-carrier strike groups for the Navy,' would not also be a priority."

The January 2015 study by the Pentagon's Defense Business Board had found that $134 billion per year was spent on back-office jobs and recommended a plan that would save the Pentagon $125 billion over five years.  


The study was allegedly buried after Pentagon leaders feared it would undercut their message that the department was starved for funding, according to a Washington Post article that published Monday. 

The Obama administration has fought back against the accusations, noting that Defense News had reported on the study when it was released and that contrary to the Post's story, it was never removed from the board's website.

A Pentagon spokesman even brought a copy of the report to an off-camera briefing on Wednesday to show the department was not trying to hide it. 

Nevertheless, the report has sparked outrage on Capitol Hill. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJuan Williams: Hypocrisy runs riot in GOP Portman on Trump's dominance of GOP: Republican Party's policies are 'even more popular' Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission MORE (R-S.C.) called for a hearing on the report, and Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Memo: Punish Trump or risk a repeat, warn Democrats GOP senators criticized for appearing to pay half-hearted attention to trial Hawley watches trial from visitor's gallery MORE (D-Mo.) called for an investigation. 


Members of the House Oversight Committee on Thursday requested from Carter all documents or communication relating to meetings with Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work, who commissioned the internal report, any efforts to discuss the study with the Defense Business Board or its members and an explanation for Carter's decision to replace the chair of the board.

Lawmakers also requested information about costs and potential savings from back-office operations at the Pentagon, recommendation from the study that Defense officials are considering implementing, a copy of the board's study and a copy of the study's 77-page summary report.

Signatories for the letter included House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzFox News Audio expands stable of podcasts by adding five new shows The myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 MORE (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), as well as Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashRepublicans eye primaries in impeachment vote Michigan GOP lawmaker says he's 'strongly considering' impeachment Newly sworn in Republican House member after Capitol riot: 'I regret not bringing my gun to D.C.' MORE (R-Mich.), Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Brendan F. Boyle (D-Pa.), Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdThe biggest political upsets of the decade Members spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations MORE (R-Texas).

Others included Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Rep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance MORE (R-Ariz.), Trey GowdyTrey GowdyPompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy The Hunter Biden problem won't go away Sunday shows preview: Joe Biden wins the 2020 election MORE (R-S.C.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-V.I.), Steve Russell (R-Okla.), Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchLawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending Overnight Health Care: New COVID-19 cases nationally drop below 100K for first time in 2021 | CDC warns states against lifting restrictions amid threat of virus variants | Health officials warn COVID-19 eradication unlikely MORE (D-Vt.), as well as Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).