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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Boeing to Face Further Probes

NEW YORK -- The Pentagon announced Monday that it was investigating eight additional U.S. Air Force contracts, totaling nearly $3 billion, as part of a broader investigation into influence-peddling involving a former Air Force official and the Boeing Company.

The eight contracts were all handled by Darleen Druyun, a former Air Force official who is in prison after admitting to giving Boeing special treatment in return for a job at the company. The contracts were identified by the Defense Contract Management Agency, a Pentagon oversight body, which reviewed 407 contracts that Druyun handled as a top Air Force acquisitions officer.

This group of contracts will be added to seven others under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and other federal agencies that are looking into Druyun's relationship with Boeing and its influence on her decision-making at the Pentagon.

Not all of the eight contracts, however, involve Boeing. Two of them, a $561 million C-5 transport aircraft modernization program and a $42 million F-16 mission-training contract, went to the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the largest U.S. military contractor.

The four contracts won by Boeing included a $400 million polar satellite sensor system, a $244 million C-40 transport lease program, a $1.5 billion contract for aerial refueling tanker maintenance that it received along with Pemco Aviation Group, and a $62 million C-22 transport replacement program. Other contracts among the eight were awarded to Andersen Consulting, now known as Accenture, and Systems and Electronics.

"We felt that anything that violated the standard process should be referred for investigation," said Michael Wynne, the acting undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, logistics and technology. Wynne added that the investigation that turned up the eight contracts centered on whether general Air Force contracting procedures were followed.

Wynne said that if the Pentagon inspector general found any wrongdoing in the contracts, he would encourage losing bidders to file protests with the Government Accountability Office.

Later this week, the GAO is expected to announce its findings on a number of protests previously filed by Lockheed and BAE Systems on contracts that Druyun awarded to Boeing and that she now admits were tainted. These include a $4 billion contract to upgrade software on the C-130 transport plane.

Yet distinguishing between criminal behavior and mere efficiency on the part of Druyun, who left the Air Force to work at Boeing on its missile programs, may be difficult, Wynne said. Wynne said that Druyun was well known for a desire to cut red tape and speed up Pentagon decision-making.

"Her message was clear. She wanted to do acquisitions faster. But now we are looking at her direct personal influence or whether people were just doing things in a faster or a different way."