The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) released its recommendations Wednesday to the U.S. Senate, including support for measures in the defense spending bill that could save billions of dollars, increase transparency, protect whistleblowers and hold contractors more accountable.
The recommendations include eliminating funding for the controversial V-22 Osprey aircraft, preserving improvements in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and balancing national security with other public interests such as health and safety and the public’s right to know.
The Senate Armed Services Committee begins consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 on Tuesday. But unfortunately, because the Senate Committee will hold hearings and vote on the defense budget almost entirely behind closed doors, the American public will have no way of following the deliberations.
“There is absolutely no justification for senators to debate and vote on the defense budget in secret,” said Angela Canterbury, POGO’s director of public policy. “Defense accounts for more than half of the federal government’s discretionary spending. Taxpayers have a right to know how Congress decides to spend its money.”
However, one senator has decided to stand up for open meetings. As chair of the Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) will open that subcommittee’s markup to the public.
“We urge the rest of the subcommittees and the full committee to follow Sen. McCaskill’s lead and shine some light on how the massive defense budget gets made,” Canterbury said.