Department of Defense develops plan to correct contracting practices


The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) developed a corrective action plan on contracting practices in the DoD’s Office of Net Assessment.

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The plan was developed at the request of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who sent a letter to then-Acting Secretary Mark Esper in July seeking more information on the matter.

The letter highlighted potential problems concerning ONA’s contracts with Professor Stefan Halper, including a finding that ONA could not provide sufficient documentation that Halper conducted all of his work under applicable laws and regulations. The letter also cites flaws in ONA’s contract management and oversight processes.

“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,” Grassley said.

Halper worked as a source for the FBI during the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Grassley’s letter followed an audit released by the DoD Office of Inspector General, which illustrated 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 said. “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.”

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