Peter Levine, former Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness at the Department of Defense and senior research fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses, discusses the progress of the department’s first audit and why fixing financial problems at the agency will be challenging.
This year forms the culmination of decades of work. The Department of Defense’s first full audit is underway, but there could be trouble on the horizon. Peter Levine, former Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness at DoD and senior research fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses, says that once the audit is complete, there’s no plan in place to fix what’s wrong. “If you’ve been working on the same project for 30 years, and it doesn’t look like you’re any closer now than you were then, you have to look at it and think about whether you’re going about it wrong… The Department of Defense is a huge ship and it doesn’t change directions easily,” said Levine. “John Hamre when he was comptroller in the 1990s had a saying that the problem with the defense audit is that you’re in the car driving at 60 mph the same time as you’re trying to change the tires… I think you’re actually trying to replace the engine.”