Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) received a corrective action plan (CAP) from the Department of Defense (DoD) following his July 12 letter to then-Acting Secretary Mark Esper seeking more information about contracting practices in the DoD Office of Net Assessment (ONA).
“I’m glad to see the Defense Department has an action plan to address the suspicious contracting practices occurring in the department’s Office of Net Assessment. However, I remain concerned that Professor Halper did not comply with all of his contract requirements. Further, a plan is useless unless it’s put into action. The DoD Inspector General needs to be aggressive in ensuring DoD follows through on the implementation of its corrective action plan.
“In our meeting prior to his confirmation vote, Secretary Esper pledged to combat waste fraud and abuse at the Pentagon. He has a real opportunity to demonstrate that he is serious by immediately putting the screws to the Office of Net Assessment. The situation involving Professor Halper’s contracts is alarming and illustrates systemic problems within the Office of Net Assessment that has led to potentially millions of dollars in waste.”
“The results of this audit are disappointing and illustrate a systemic failure to manage and oversee the contracting process. Time and again, DoD’s challenges with contract management and oversight are put on display. It is far past time the largest, most critical agency in this country steps up and takes immediate action to increase its efforts to stop waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Grassley’s July 12 letter highlighted potential problems in relation to ONA’s contracts with Professor Stefan Halper, including a finding that ONA could not provide sufficient documentation that Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. It also notes significant flaws in ONA’s contract management and oversight processes.
Text of Grassley’s January 16, 2019 letter is available here. Text of the DoD IG audit is available here. Text of Grassley’s July 12, 2019 letter is available here. Text of the DoD CAP is available here.