Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Monday that he regrets costing taxpayers roughly $860,000 to fund his frequent trips home to California aboard a military jet, but he also did not indicate how he might cut the costs or that he had any plans to stop, according to The Associated Press.
"I regret that it does, you know, that it does add costs that the taxpayer has to pick up," Panetta said, adding that he is open to seeking “alternatives” at a time when Defense is looking to cut costs.
Panetta’s travel is significantly more frequent than two of his predecessors, according to the Associated Press. He typically takes his trips on an Air Force C-37, which is the lowest-cost aircraft that can carry the required communications equipment.
A Pentagon spokesperson said that one of the concerns for Panetta was that he not make “decisions on classified military operations from the middle seat on a crowded commercial jet.”