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.  

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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 GrahamThe Hill's Campaign Report: Arizona shifts towards Biden | Biden prepares for drive-in town hall | New Biden ad targets Latino voters Senate Democrats' campaign arm announces seven-figure investment to boost Graham challenger Graham: Comey to testify about FBI's Russia probe, Mueller declined invitation MORE (R-S.C.) called for a hearing on the report, and Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocratic-linked group runs ads in Kansas GOP Senate primary Trump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties MORE (D-Mo.) called for an investigation. 

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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 ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), as well as Reps. Justin AmashJustin AmashOn The Trail: How Nancy Pelosi could improbably become president History is on Edward Snowden's side: Now it's time to give him a full pardon Trump says he's considering Snowden pardon 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 GosarPelosi must go — the House is in dire need of new leadership LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise Trump tweets his people have all left Drudge MORE (R-Ariz.), Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySunday shows preview: Election integrity dominates as Nov. 3 nears Tim Scott invokes Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in Trump convention speech Sunday shows preview: Republicans gear up for national convention, USPS debate continues in Washington 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 WelchShakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' Vermont Rep. Peter Welch easily wins primary Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism MORE (D-Vt.), as well as Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).