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Obama Nominates Watchdog for Defense Department

After more than 18 months without one, the Pentagon may soon have a permanent inspector general (IG) after President Barack Obama nominated Jon Rymer for the job last Friday.

Rymer is currently the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) IG and he has also served as the interim IG of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). At both agencies, Rymer delivered critical reports on systemic problems, such as regulatory failures during the 2008 financial meltdown. In 2010, Rymer heavily criticized the FDIC for its failure to supervise Washington Mutual as the savings and loan bank moved towards collapse in 2008, and he later delivered a report in which he condemned the SEC for its disorganized and improper handling of records. Rymer has proven to be a capable watchdog at these agencies and we hope that he brings the same commitment to accountability at the Department of Defense. 

If Rymer is confirmed by the Senate, he will fill a role that has been vacant since Dec. 24, 2011. While Rymer’s nomination is an important step to maintaining independent oversight of the Pentagon, other key government agencies are still without permanent inspectors general. Most notably, the Department of State’s IG position has been vacant for more than five years. To see a full list of IG vacancies, click here.

The interests of Congress and the taxpaying public are best served by permanent IGs who have the tools to be truly independent, and it is critical that these positions be filled with strong independent watchdogs soon.

By: Jana Persky
Intern, POGO

Photograph of Jana Persky Jana Persky is an intern for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: Government Accountability

Related Content: Department of Defense (DOD), Inspector General Oversight, Watching the Watchdogs

Authors: Jana Persky

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