Former Air Force acquisition chief begins prison term

Darleen Druyun was sentenced in September to nine months in federal prison for violating conflict of interest laws.

Darleen Druyun, the former Air Force acquisition executive who steered contracts to Boeing in exchange for a lucrative job, began serving a nine-month sentence in a federal prison on Monday.

Druyun, 57, was sentenced last fall after violating federal conflict of interest laws by negotiating a $250,000-a-year job with Boeing, the Pentagon's second largest contractor, while managing the Air Force's federal contracts. Druyun admitted to favoring Boeing in at least four separate contract negotiations, in exchange for jobs for her daughter and son-in-law.

Druyun will serve her sentence at a minimum-security prison in Marianna, Fla., located about 60 miles from Tallahassee. After serving nine months there, she must spend another seven months in a halfway house or under home detention.

The incarceration represents a spectacular fall for the one of most powerful career officials in the Pentagon. Druyun oversaw tens of billions of dollars in weapons contracts for a decade. She retired from the Air Force in late 2002 and almost immediately went to work for Boeing managing missile defense contracts. She was fired within a year, after ethics concerns arose.

The Defense Department is now reviewing all contracts that Druyun oversaw or awarded from 1993 until she retired for any signs of fraud.

Meanwhile, Boeing CEO Phil Condit resigned a week after Druyun was fired, and Boeing Chief Financial Officer Michael Sears will be sentenced to up to six months in jail in federal court in February for secretly negotiating to hire Druyun.

Also, Air Force Secretary James Roche and Air Force Assistant Secretary for acquisition Marvin Sambur have announced they will leave the Pentagon at the end this month, in part as a result of the Druyun scandal.