An Inspector General’s report released Dec. 5 has cleared the Department of Defense, United Launch Alliance, and Brett Tobey of any wrongdoing related to Tobey’s March 15 comments about contract competition. Speaking to an engineering class at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Tobey said that ULA had declined to bid on GPS launch services for fear of getting involved in a “cost shoot out.” The comments raised questions about the fairness of the acquisitions process and possible collusion between contractors and DOD officials. The IG found that “the DOD’s acquisition process was fair and equitable” and that “ULA did not have an obligation to submit proposals for competitive launch contracts.” The report also found “no evidence of collusion” between ULA and the DOD. While the investigation also reviewed many documents and emails, the report’s conclusions depend significantly on the finding that, “Mr. Tobey told us that he misspoke during the presentation.” In his interview conducted with the investigation team, Tobey confessed to embellishing his story to impress the students he was speaking with. “I told the story with drama,” he said. “To come up with a compelling, entertaining topic is necessary in order to keep the college students engaged and off of their iPhones.”
As the Pentagon increasingly pivots its focus to strategic competition with China, the U.S. will look to expand its partnership with South Korea to increase security across the entire Indo-Pacific region, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said Dec. 2 during a visit to the northeastern Asian nation.