Keeping Tabs on the Extended Family

DOD should consider updating its procurement policies to ensure that it adequately monitors former senior officers and acquisition officials now in the employ of defense contractors to prevent conflicts of interest, the Government Accountability Office states in a report issued May 21. A survey of 2006 data showed that 2,435 former DOD officials working for 52 contractors were subject to government restrictions on their new employment, GAO said. Of these, at least 422 could have worked on defense contracts related to their former DOD agencies and at least nine could have worked on the same contracts for which they had oversight responsibilities while with the DOD. While these findings do not imply any violations, they may indicate the need for greater monitoring vigilance, GAO noted. New reporting requirements enacted in January are likely to improve the situation. But GAO suggests that the Office of the Secretary of Defense consider mandating that contractors, upon award of a contract, disclose the names of former DOD officials involved in the projects and certify that they are in compliance with post-governments employment restrictions. Perhaps it would make sense to apply similar mechanisms throughout the life of a contract, GAO said. DOD concurred that greater transparency is needed.