Monday, March 19th, 2012 - 15:43
At the time of his nomination by President Barack Obama
in January 2009, Robert Hale was Executive Director of
the American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC), the
professional association of Defense financial managers.
Principal Financial Advisor to the Secretary of Defense
I am the principal financial advisor to the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on all budgetary and fiscal matters, including the development and execution of the Defense Department’s annual budget. I am also the DoD’s chief financial officer, managing the department’s financial policy, financial management systems, and business modernization efforts. For us to be successful, defense financial managers must achieve three broad goals: acquire the resources necessary to meet national security objectives; ensure the legal, effective, and efficient use of those resources; and maintain a capable financial management workforce.
This year, we will execute about $688 billion worth of budget authority to maintain our national security. We obligate $2 billion to $3 billion a day on average. It’s a very sizable amount. The Department of Defense is in many ways more like a country. Our budget is about equal to the gross domestic product of the Netherlands. In terms of specific things that I do, I spend much of my time formulating budgets, as it is key to identifying and putting together our priorities. We also put them together in a way that convinces the Congress and the public that we both need the resources and will spend them appropriately to maintain national security.
I also have a responsibility to make sure that we execute the budget in a manner that’s legal. There are 8,000 pages in the DoD financial management regulations. It’s effective—we meet the needs of our warfighters. And, finally, it’s efficient— for the sake of the taxpayers and … particularly in these days, efficiency is very much on our minds. All of those are part and parcel of my day-to-day responsibilities.
Read the entire interview.