By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
How well he'll do is anyone's guess. There were, however, a few comments of optimistic or deferential cast in Tuesday's papers regarding the deputy secretary of defense that bear commenting on, in the service of divining what we're likely to see from the architect of "free and democratic Iraq"which a report released yesterday by the anti-corruption group Transparency International reveals is reeling with corruption and graft, thanks in part to the poor planning and practices of the U.S.-led invasion and occupation that was Wolfowitz's baby.
He helped manage a large organization. The World Bank's a large organization; the Pentagon's a large organization. He's been involved in the management of that organization. George W. Bush, March 16
Ah, but how well has he helped manage it? Late last year the Government Accountability Office (Congress's investigative arm) released a report on how effectively and efficiently the Pentagon's "transformation" of the armed servicesan effort running to the hundreds of billions of dollarshas been going. The report pointedly noted an "absence of clear leadership and accountability" at the Pentagon's top tiernot exactly a ringing endorsement.
Citing the deputy secretary and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld specifically, the report concluded the Wolfowitz and other top Department of Defense officials haven't done a stellar job of "maintain[ing] the oversight, focus and momentum needed to resolve the weaknesses in DOD's business operations." The result, concluded the GAO, has been a "lack of transparency and appropriate accountability across all of DOD's major business areas [that] results in billions of dollars in annual wasted resources in a time of increasing fiscal constraint."
That was just with regard to "transformation." About this time last year, Comptroller General David M. Walker (the GAO's chief) gave Congress a verbal update on a critical 2002 GAO report about across-the-board Pentagon financial management problems. Since 2002, Walker said, things hadn't got much better. The principal reasons included a "lack of sustained top-level leadership and management accountability for correcting problems".
While Walker did give Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz points for at least talking about addressing these problems, he added that they've been heavy on talk and light on walk, and he called for a much higher level of "direct, active support and involvement of Secretary and Deputy Secretary . . . in achieving shared, agency-wide outcomes and successes." Walker noted that these were not trivial matters, and that the current Pentagon leadership's lack of attention to them has helped enable a continuing "existence of pervasive weaknesses in DOD's financial management" that has "hindered operational efficiency, adversely affected mission performance and left the department vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse."
Walker went on to cite some examples of what poor financial and operational management atop the Pentagon has wroughtexamples that would not seem to portend well for a Wolfowitz-run World Bank. Among the dubious financial and accounting achievements that have occurred on Wolfowitz's watch: