WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s proving to be a costly commute home for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The Pentagon chief has traveled on military aircraft to his northern California home more than two dozen times since he took the defense post in July — trips that have cost the government about $32,000 each.

Panetta has reimbursed the government about $630 for each roundtrip flight, based on longstanding formulas dictated by federal policies.

The totals detailed by defense officials lay out his reimbursements for the first time, showing that as of March 19, Panetta had written checks to the Treasury totaling about $17,000 for 27 roundtrip flights. The total cost to the Pentagon is as much as $860,000.

Panetta is required to travel on military planes because they have the secure communications equipment he needs.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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