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Project on Government Oversight




Concern Over Rumsfeld Transformation Grows

May 13, 2003 


A letter written today by four Democrats who oversee the Department of Defense says that Rumsfeld's transformation legislation ("Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act of 2003") would reduce Congressional oversight and public accountability of the Pentagon. Click here to view the letter.

Rumsfeld's proposal would repeal more than 100 reporting and notification requirements that would allow transparency of areas ranging from military readiness to contracts and operational budgets. Concerns outlined in the letter include:

Under the guise of "acquisition reform," the proposal would repeal a Department of Defense requirement to submit quarterly "Selected Acquisition Reports" that provide cost, schedule and performance information on major Pentagon weapons systems;

"Without a number of these important reporting requirements, Congress will be blindfolded. These reports enable Congress to fulfill its Constitutional responsibility to oversee Pentagon spending. They also ensure that the taxpayers and servicemen and women are protected from waste, fraud, and abuse," said Eric Miller, Senior Investigator of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). POGO has opposed these provisions which would cede Congressional authority to the Pentagon at a time when more, not less, vigorous oversight and analysis of its spending and programs is needed (see POGO's Letter to House Armed Services Committee on 2004 Defense Authorization).

The letter's authors are Representatives Henry Waxman (CA), Ike Skelton (MO), David Obey (WI), and John M. Spratt, Jr. (SC), the ranking members respectively of the four committees overseeing the Pentagon: the Government Reform Committee, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Committee on the Budget. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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