Defense Dept. Finally Releases Report Charging Former Head of DARPA with Enriching her Own Company
The former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) improperly used her position to help a company she founded, the Pentagon’s top inspector has found.
Six months after Regina Dugan took over DARPA in 2009 and became its first woman director, the agency awarded a $400,000 research contract to RedXDefense, a bomb detection business she created with her father Vince Dugan and uncle John Dugan. Her father took over the company after Dugan left and her sister was its vice president of marketing. The company went on to receive $1.75 million in DARPA contracts.
The original award, first reported by AllGov, raised concerns among independent government watchdogs.
Now, the Department of Defense’s inspector general has finally released the 16-month old report of its investigation into the matter—and concluded that Dugan violated ethics rules by steering business to RedXDefense.
“We determined that Dr. Dugan violated the [Joint Ethics Regulation] prohibition against using her Government position for the stated or implied endorsement of a product, service, or enterprise,” the report said.
Dugan “created the appearance of a violation of a law or ethical standards,” the IG determined.
“In communications with senior DoD officials, she used RedX proprietary and other materials originally developed for and used in RedX sales presentations,” the report says. “She advanced a theory integral to RedX product development, promoted a multi-step process the RedX product suite used to implement the theory, highlighted the results of field trials that used RedX products to demonstrate the efficacy of the theory and process, and featured a RedX sales slogan. She also endorsed the adoption of an effort to put sensors on dogs, an extension of a DARPA project on which RedX performed.”
Dugan left her post in 2012 during the investigation and became an executive at Google. Since the investigation was completed after Dugan left government service, the IG recommended no penalty for her.
To Learn More:
IG: Former DARPA Head Promoted Own Company, Violating Rules (by Andrew Tilghman, Military Times)
Google Exec Regina Dugan Broke Pentagon Ethics Rules: Watchdog (by Clayton Browne, Value Walk)
Report of Investigation (Department of Defense, Inspector General) (pdf)
Disclosure Needed as Obama Administration Reverses Lobbyist Ban (by Lisa Rosenberg, Sunlight Foundation)
DARPA Director Who Gave Contracts to Own Company Finally Resigns (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
Pentagon Watchdog Should Investigate DARPA Conflicts (Project on Government Oversight)
Defense Agency Awarded Contract to Director’s Father's Company (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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