WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s pick to run the Pentagon says he will seek better use of taxpayer dollars but that Congress must bring stability back to the military’s budget.
Ashton Carter, in prepared remarks for his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, acknowledges that the Defense Department must end wasteful practices that undermine public confidence even as he criticises the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.
“I cannot suggest support and stability for the defence budget without at the same time frankly noting that not every defence dollar is spent as well as it should be,” Carter says in remarks prepared for his opening statement to the committee.
“The taxpayer cannot comprehend, let alone support, the defence budget when they read of cost overruns, lack of accounting and accountability, needless overhead and the like,” he adds in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.
Carter is expected to face politically charged questions about Iraq and other hot spots during his Senate appearance. Nominated by President Barack Obama to become the fourth Pentagon chief of his administration, he is experienced in a wide range of national security issues.
The Philadelphia native served twice previously in Obama’s Pentagon, most recently as deputy defence secretary from 2011 to 2013. He was assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the administration of President Bill Clinton.
Unlike his predecessors over the past 30-plus years, Carter has served neither in the military nor in Congress.
The last defence secretary without experience in uniform or national politics was Harold Brown, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter and led the Pentagon from 1977 to 1981.