Friday, April 29, 2011

From the world of POGO

Stop Us if You’ve Heard This One

How many three-star generals does it take to screw in a light bulb? Actually, we don’t know the punch line to this one because we doubt any three-star general has ever screwed in his or her own light bulb. That’s because every three-star general has a couple one-star and two-star generals, along with a platoon of colonels and majors standing by for light bulb duty, or at least ready to request a bid from Lockheed Martin to do the job. POGO Director of Investigations Nick Schwellenbach looks at the phenomenon of “brass creep” and why the problem is particularly pervasive in the Air Force. Read about it on POGO’s blog.

Can New Agency Really Get Fresh Start?

Can a leopard really change its spots? Or are the changes at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE, formerly the Minerals Management Service) nothing more than slapping lipstick on a pig? Bad animal metaphors aside, BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich seems earnest enough when he says the regulatory agency is trying hard to overcome its history of corruption and untangle its conflicted functions. POGO Investigator Mandy Smithberger says there are still some questions Bromwich must answer. Read about it on POGO’s blog.

Air Force Does About Face on No-Bid Contract

If we were Charlie Sheen, we might be tempted to let out a big “winning!” right about now. But you know us, we keep it classy. So, we’ll just clear our throats and give the Air Force an approving nod for reversing its terrible decision of not seeking bids for 93 new helicopters. Read about it on POGO’s blog.

Defense Agency Keeps it All in the Family

Wired’s intrepid national security reporter Spencer Ackerman recently joined our podcast crew to talk about conflicts of interest at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which has awarded lucrative contracts to a company run by its director’s father. Watch a video excerpt of the conversation on POGO’s blog or download the full podcast here. 

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