The quiet actions undertaken by the Bush Administration to ease restrictions on how technology and defense materials are handled in order to better allow contractors, such as The Boeing Company, to more easily sell products including our newest technologies to foreign countries such as China should be of grave concern to government oversight authorities and citizens of the United States. For example, Department of Commerce, an agency which has had numerous problems the past several years, not the least of which is adequately protecting classified and sensitive materials and technologies, has really dropped the ball in protecting classified and sensitive information and technology, and also has suffered the ill effects of this administrations politically motivated appointees and a systematic disabling of those employees charged with oversight of government contracts and the sharing of U.S. technologies. In some cases, decisions and permission for certain program actions to go forth are being made at high agency levels, leaving many government oversight professionals in the field, totally unaware that these decisions have been made behind their backs and out of their possible field of view, and that the materials and technologies are being compromised in the shadows created by our current administration (Bush and Associates).  The problems continue to be widespread also within DOD programs and in the public sector.

With all of the information being posted by mainstream news reporters and bloggers which shows runaway contractors, fraud and corruption in contracts and in contract oversight and management, particularly in the area of defense contracts one would think that oversight government agencies and employees would be redoubling their efforts to do their jobs with efficacy. It is interesting to note that currently, the oversight of such contracts is under the purvey of The Defense Security Service (formerly Defense Investigative Service) who’s employees have the charge of fulfilling their agencies assigned mission to “protect classified information and technology in the hands of industry.” It would appear that DSS has been broken for some time, and that this critical mission is no longer being accomplished. I checked with someone who had access to the laws and policies and found out the following:

The National Industrial Security Program (NISP)
“DoD 5220.22-M, Chapter 1, Para. 1-101- Authority
The NISP was established by Executive Order 12829. The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) has been designated Executive Agent for the NISP by the President.  While the SecDef serves as the Executive Agent for inspecting and monitoring contractors, practical day-to-day administration of the program has been, and continues to be, the purvey of the Defense Security Service (DSS).  One of the responsibilities of the DSS is the administration of the Facility Clearance (FCL) program of defense contractors. DoD 5220.22-M, Chapter 2, Para. 2-102- Eligibility Requirements, Sub Para. c. stipulates “The company must have a reputation for integrity and lawful conduct in its business dealings.”

So why isn’t the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Security Service enforcing this requirement? They have the authority to revoke a defense contractor’s facility clearance and participation in the NISP until that contractor comes into compliance. It appears to be used very selectively on small defense contractors, but never as a compliance tool in large defense contractor transgressions.”

So, current law does provide legal means to enforce expectations, policies, and laws regarding the actions of defense contractors, but the expectations, policies, and laws are not being enforced. In fact, over less than a decade, it has become decidedly out of control. It appears that Congress is going to have to stand up and take this to the mat, or it will never be wrestled back into control. It would appear the following must be done:

1. Corruption within and connected to the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative Branches must be confronted and routed.

2. Government Agencies must also be audited, removing first appointed managers who are either not doing the job required, or who are actively thwarting the employee’s efforts to do the oversight work ethically. This will include on an agency-by-agency basis, determining which employees are a part of the problem and those who may be paralyzed victims of the corruption and the corrupted managers and/or coworkers.

3. Congressional intervention into defense contractor influence pedaling and lobbying wrongdoing must be accomplished and violations of current laws stopped.

4. The Government needs to step up to its role as the governing authority. Far too often contractors, defense contractors in particular have much too much influence into decisions that should be inherently governmental decisions. This is not to say that defense contractors should not have input into the process. However the final determination of policy needs to squarely rest on the shoulders of government.

5. Government employees who have oversight responsibilities must be uncompromised and independent of pressures either directly or indirectly applied from defense contractors or corrupted employees or managers within the government who are “owned” by those contractors.

6. The defense contracting community is its own best advocate. It does not need government workers or agencies advocating on its behalf. The government should not be trying to be the “friend” of industry. In business dealings, the government and industry, must maintain appropriate separation because of the legal oversight responsibility government has. There are currently laws and policies, which have been in place a long time to assure that the lines between contractor and oversight authority are clear and clean. However, those policies have in some cases been corrupted, and in others ignored, and in all cases where problems are evident have not been enforced.

Will all of this be easy? No, although the path that must be taken is clear. The U.S. Government must rededicate itself to effectively managing oversight of contractors who win contracts for all manner of goods and services, particularly defense contractors. The current administration has made it quite clear to this observer, that there is not only zero commitment to doing this in an ethical and responsible manner, but has condoned inappropriate and corrupt behavior at the highest levels. Our Justice Department and Office of Special Counsel have also been corrupted and rendered ineffective at best, and corrupted and a part of the problem at worst due to the partisan politicization of these critically important agencies.

Therefore, the heaviest weight in responsibility at this time, due to the apparent level of corruption and dysfunction in the Executive and Judicial branches, falls squarely on the shoulders of the Legislative Branch, which is itself troubled as some of its members have been found implicated in the same disagreeable business dealings. The outcome of the upcoming elections and what occurs after the elections will be of critical importance to the safety and economic security of the United States Government and its citizens.