Comptroller Nominee Says She'd Target Troop Pay Problems
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 29, 2004 The presidential nominee tabbed to replace former DoD Comptroller Dov. S. Zakheim told a Senate committee April 27 that she'd look into pay problems that have plagued some National Guard members deployed overseas in the war against terrorism.
Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, nominee Tina W. Jonas pledged to make it a "first priority" upon her confirmation to investigate why some deployed National Guard troops have experienced delayed or inaccurate paychecks.
Jonas has served as the FBI's chief financial officer since Sept. 6, 2002. Before that, she was the deputy undersecretary of defense for financial management.
Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard pointed out to Jonas that a recent General Accounting Office report cited pay problems among some National Guardsmen being deployed overseas. Allard pointed out that many affected troops came from his state. The senator asked Jonas if she'd "get on top" of the issue.
Jonas responded she'd "be very happy to look into" the pay issue. "There's nothing more important than a paycheck for our men and women in uniform, and particularly the Guard issues," she said.
Virginia Sen. John Warner, the committee chairman, observed to Jonas that DoD is expected to ask for more supplemental funding to prosecute the war on terror specifically to fund military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He then noted that Jonas had previously told him she hadn't worked with budget supplemental issues during her prior stint at the Pentagon.
The chairman said supplemental budget requests from the Defense Department are "critically important" to the war effort. "You just can't anticipate with the certainty that's necessary to put down in a presidential normal budget request what is needed, he explained. Saying he supports the supplemental process as it is, and that he believes it will continue, he told Jonas she'd "be very much involved in the forthcoming supplemental."
Jonas told the committee that, if confirmed, she'd continue efforts to modernize DoD's financial accounting infrastructure, and that she'd investigate a troubled air tanker leasing program.