Goldfein, Four Others Disciplined

Maj. Gen. Stephen M. Goldfein, vice director of the Joint Staff, and four other Air Force officers are being disciplined for improperly steering work to an unqualified contractor, according to an Air Force statement, following an investigation by the Pentagon’s Inspector General. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne exercised “administrative action” against Goldfein and two other unnamed officers for their role in hiring a company to provide entertainment during performances of the Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team in 2006, when Goldfein was commander of the Air Warfare Center at Nellis AFB, Nev. Wynne referred two more to their chain of command for disciplinary action. According to a 250-page IG report, dated Jan. 30, 2008, but released Thursday afternoon, Goldfein exerted command influence on selection of Strategic Message Solutions to provide music, a jumbotron display, and video presentations during Thunderbird performances. Goldfein exerted influence by “injecting himself into the source selection process” after an initial attempt to award the contract sole-source to SMS was blocked, and then expressed his preference for the company in discussions with the source selection board and its director, the IG said. The source selection authority admitted to the IG that he, who was of lesser rank, “caved” to Goldfein’s preference, despite knowing “it was not the right decision,” according to the IG report. The report also references the possible influence of Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and includes numerous e-mails from and to Moseley from SMS principals, including retired Gen. Hal Hornburg, former commander of Air Combat Command, about ways to enhance strategic communications through the Thunderbirds show. However, the IG offered no conclusions or recommendations about Moseley. The IG noted that SMS appeared to be a “skeleton operation without the resources needed to undertake a contract effort of this magnitude.” The SMS contract, worth up to $49.9 million, was canceled after a competitor successfully protested the award, based on the fact that it underbid SMS by half and was equipped to do such work. Wynne, referred the matter to the IG in February 2006, and the probe was carried out by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. In a statement issued April 17 as part of a 10-page media background package, Wynne said “I am deeply disappointed that our high standards were not adhered to in this case. … This is not how the Air Force does business and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” (Here also is the IG memo to Wynne, which is dated Jan. 30, 2008, but was publicly released April 17.)