[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/27/art.gates1.gi.jpg caption="Gates is testifying on the Hill Tuesday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday the continued push to make sure administration officials and government employees do not have ties to private industry has a cost - the inability to find experienced people to fill important jobs.
Ethics efforts, at times, mean "we're cutting off our nose to spite our face" in terms of being able to hire qualified people, Gates said as he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Earlier, he noted that the Department of Defense operates with vacancies in "key acquisition positions ranging from 13 percent in the Army to 43 percent in the Air Force."
"Thus, the situation we face today, where a small set of expensive weapons programs has had repeated and unacceptable problems with requirements, schedule costs and performance. The list spans the services," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Pentagon is working with states to ensure that troops and their families overseas can have their votes count this election day.
A Pentagon survey after the 2004 election found 73% of military voters overseas cast absentee ballots, said Polli Brunell, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, at a press conference at the Pentagon today.
In 2006, an Election Assistance Commission survey found that less than half, 47.6% of ballots, from overseas military voters were cast or counted.
Brunelli said that feedback from states this year is that interest is higher than previous elections, judging from participation in the primaries.