Interview: Robert Hale, Pentagon Comptroller

May 6, 2013

With the uncertainty surrounding the US Defense Department’s budget, it’s no wonder Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, has worked just about every day since January.

Hale’s job is to figure out how the department will deal with a $37 billion cut to its 2013 budget due to sequestration, as well as increased war-fighting costs in Afghanistan. He also is overseeing the construction of a massive reprogramming action in which DoD will ask to shift more than $7 billion across its spending accounts.

Q. On sequestration, Congress has exempted meat inspectors and air-traffic controllers. What is your plan to get the same flexibility?

A. It is important because we are making major changes, and I hope we get a chance to talk to them, associated with sequestration. What we want the Congress to do is, and not just for meat inspectors and not just for DoD, and that is to pass a balanced reduction in the deficit that the president can sign and then de-trigger sequestration. If it stays in effect, we’re going to have to make, and have made in many cases, major changes that are devastating, frankly, to our readiness.

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