Pentagon to review ex-Air Force acquisition official’s contract management

By George Cahlink

November 9, 2004

Hoping to quell the largest procurement scandal at the Pentagon in decades, Defense Department officials said Tuesday they will review all of the contracts overseen by former Air Force procurement official Darleen Druyun.

Druyun, formerly the highest-ranking civilian acquisition executive at the Air Force, was sentenced to nine months in federal prison last month after she negotiated a job with the Pentagon's second-largest contractor, Boeing, while overseeing its Air Force contracts. Druyun, who was paid $250,000 a year by Boeing after leaving the Air Force in late 2002, has admitted to favoring the company in four different contract negotiations.

Michael Wynne, acting Pentagon acquisition chief, told reporters Tuesday that he has appointed a team, led by Sally Flavin, deputy director of the Defense Contract Management Agency, to review all the contracts Druyun managed after she came to the Pentagon in 1993. As principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition and management, Druyun oversaw every significant purchase the Air Force made for the better part of a decade.

Wynne said the review should be completed by mid-January and that the Air Force is already preparing a list of the contracts that Druyun managed. He said Air Force officials will not be involved with the actual reviews, to ensure impartiality.

"I am not sure everything is bad. I hope everything is aboveboard," said Wynne.

Hesaid the review would examine all the contracts Druyun oversaw, not just the ones in which she picked the winner as the source selection authority. He said that would include contracts where she granted award fees and negotiated extensions.

Wynne said that any protests related to nonclassified Druyun worked on would be handled by the Government Accountability Office rather than the Pentagon to ensure impartiality. Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems already have protested a $4 billion award to Boeing in 2001 to upgrade electronics on C-130 aircraft.

Lockheed Martin also has called on the Air Force to review all contracts that Druyun approved, including a $2 billion Small Diameter Bomb award and a contract for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

Finally, Wynne announced the creation of a Defense Science Board task force to study how Druyun was able to accrue so much power as a career civilian manager and whether the procurement system included the proper checks and balances. That report is due in February.

"We've got to answer the question of, 'How did we let this happen?' " Wynne said. "We all felt the integrity of our acquisition system was beyond reproach."

The Air Force already has weighed in by abolishing Druyun's former job, which was the civilian equivalent of a three-star general.

By George Cahlink

November 9, 2004