Thursday, March 20, 2008

OIF Contract Frauds

Although not on the forefront of the news lately, I did a little search about contract fraud and some of the more notable Army Officers that participated in such activities over the last several years. I liked into the case of Maj John Cockerham. Cockerham faces an April trial on charges he took $9.6 million in bribes in 2004 and 2005 from firms seeking business with the U.S. military in Kuwait and Iraq. Companies that did not accept entreaties to bribe this officer found their contracts terminated. Others received unfair competition for contracts which may have resulted in awards that were not merited.

Another individual allegedly involved was Major Gloria Davis, another contracting officer. Maj Davis killed herself in December, a day after admitting to Army investigators that she took $225,000 in bribes from contractors.

These two “officer” sought personal gain in completing their duties. While the impact on me and other soldiers may seem slight…whether we had shabby poorly maintained living conditions, risk of substandard food, water or other service, but it was real. To date there 36 people indicted to date on Iraq war-contract crimes per the Justice Department.

I read accounts from sites about these two officers in particular that praises their service, bemoans that they are pawns of the system. I even saw that Maj Davis has a headstone in Arlington Cemetery just like any other veteran that served honorably.

My point of note here is that these soldiers forgot a key tenet of Army Values … Selfless service
Selfless Service
Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
Selfless service leads to organizational teamwork and encompasses discipline, self-control and faith in the system.

These two at least contributed to matters that will impact other soldiers in the future. The Army Contracting apparatus is severely undermanned and will now have untold additional measures to control, restrict (read choke) its utility to quickly support soldier needs. I can guarantee somewhere a soldier will go days longer easting MREs in a new operations waiting for contracted services to be awarded under the new bureaucracy that will be established as a result of these two selfish individual’s actions.

They violated the trust that other soldiers expected in them. They may still be loved by their families, highly regarded by their communities, but in my mind and that of soldiers that relied upon their service… We were let down … These soldiers served … not the Army, not the soldier in the field, not the Army Values… They served deceit, lies, greed and themselves.

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