Pentagon Finally Investigates DARPA Chief’s Contract Conflicts

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Regina Dugan
The Department of Defense’s inspector general is launching a series of audits aimed at examining all contracts issued by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) since Regina Dugan became its director in June 2009. DARPA funds projects that explore the cutting edge of technology as they relate to national security.
The issue of Dugan’s involvement in questionable contracts was first brought to light in March, when AllGov revealed that DARPA was awarding contracts to Dugan’s own firm, RedXDefense, which she co-founded in 2005 with her father, Vince Dugan, and her uncle, John Dugan.
The current Department of Defense examination was prompted by a request from the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog organization that has catalogued $1.75 million in DARPA contracts that have gone to RedXDefense.
Neither Dugan nor DARPA has officially been accused of wrongdoing. But the delivering of multiple deals to her business, which her father is currently running, has raised the question of conflicts of interest.
The audits, though, will extend beyond just the RedXDefense deals and review every other research contract DARPA has signed during Dugan’s two years in charge.
In an e-mail response to AllGov about the ethical anomaly of awarding a contract to the director’s family’s business, the media affairs office of DARPA insisted that “at no time did Dr. Dugan participate in any dealings between the Agency and RedXDefense related to this contract.”
As AllGov said back in March, “Even if Dugan did not participate in the dealings between the agency she leads and the company run by her father, it surely must have come as a pleasant surprise to learn that DARPA’s contract management office had chosen the company she founded to do work for DARPA. It is also worth considering whether President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates acted wisely when they chose the CEO of a defense contractor to lead an agency that does business with that company.”
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
POGO Letter Prompts Conflict of Interest Audit of DARPA (by Andre Francisco, Project on Government Oversight)
Pentagon Launches Investigation into Defense Contracts (by Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times)


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