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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank our ranking member and my colleagues for their indulgence in letting me go a little out of turn here.
By most counts, the United States Department of Defense is the second largest organization in the world, behind only the rest of the United States Federal Government, if you took out the Department of Defense. It is the only organization of that size that doesn't have audited financial statements. So in an organization that spends over $500 billion a year, we cannot say to the taxpayers of our country with certainty exactly what is spent where, by whom, and for what.
My friend, Congressman Mike Conaway from Texas, has made correction of this problem a special mission of his since he joined this institution. And I would like to thank him because he chaired a panel that Chairman McKeon and Ranking Member Smith saw fit to appoint in this Congress to look at how to fix that problem. The solution to the problem, I think, is well on the way to being achieved. Secretary Panetta and Mr. Hale, who's the comptroller of the Pentagon, worked diligently on this and made it a very high priority. And the panel on which I was privileged to serve had voluminous hearings to find out the progress that we were making.
Suffice it to say that we are impatient--and we should be. But I do believe that the cooperative relationship between the panel created by the chairman and the ranking member and the Department of Defense is leading us to the day when we will have a clear-eyed assessment of exactly what is being spent on what, by whom, and when.
There will be an amendment, in all probability, offered later in this debate which would codify the deadline for reaching some of the milestones along that path. I will respectfully oppose that amendment because I think codification of this requirement will actually retard our progress rather than enhance it.
So I look forward to debate about all aspects of this bill. I'm proud to have supported the bill in the full committee markup.
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