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Press Release

Obama's and Panetta's Spending Plan Reassures Defense Contractors, But What About Taxpayers?

Statement of Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project On Government Oversight:

President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta may have said a lot of the right things today when outlining the need to rein in military spending—they’ll get no argument from us on the need to move beyond the Pentagon’s out-of-date Cold War mentality.

But beyond the Secretary’s failure to provide specifics on how he’s going to achieve his budget savings, it was what he didn’t say that left us flabbergasted.

Not once did he mention the need to take a serious look at the more than $200 billion the Pentagon spends each year on outside service contractors (the Pentagon spends more on service contractors than on all its uniformed military and civilians combined). A study we released last year found that contractors were billing the U.S. government, on average, nearly twice as much as it would have cost federal employees to do the same jobs. It simply defies logic and stretches the Administration’s credibility to tout the need for a leaner Pentagon without addressing the cost of our contractor work force. We fear Secretary Panetta’s budget cuts ignore hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful spending.

Instead, Secretary Panetta offered a not-too-surprising reassurance that the government will be “preserving the health and viability of the nation’s defense industrial base.” Whose interests is he looking out for? The answer doesn’t appear to be those of the American taxpayer.

For more information, read the Project On Government Oversight’s and Taxpayers for Common Sense’s Spending Less, Spending Smarter plan.