The Pentagon's Self-Proclaimed "Godmother of the C-17"

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January 6, 2003

Darleen A. Druyun, the former top acquisition official at the U.S. Air Force who publicly pushed a controversial proposal with The Boeing Company in 2000 to redirect the Pentagon's acquisition of the C-17 cargo aircraft to a more "commercial-like environment," has accepted an executive position with the defense contractor.

Druyun, who has referred to herself as the "Godmother of the C-17," will lead Boeing's missile defense business headquartered in Washington D.C., Boeing announced on January 3, 2003.

Danielle Brian, POGO's Executive Director, dubbed Druyun's hiring by Boeing Missile Defense Systems as one of the most egregious examples in recent memory of the revolving door between the federal government and defense contractors.

"Ms. Druyun is now officially an employee of the company whose interests she so ardently championed while she was supposedly representing the interests of the taxpayers," Brian said.

While at the U.S. Air Force, Druyun was a staunch supporter of the December 2000 proposal to acquire additional C-17 cargo aircraft while sidestepping financial oversight for Boeing. The proposal would have made the airlift plane a "commercial item." While the acquisition proposal would have been a financial bonanza for Boeing, it would have ultimately put billions of taxpayer dollars at risk.

However, a POGO investigation and subsequent report "Heavy Lifting for Boeing: Sweetheart Deal Helps Defense Contractor & Hurts Taxpayers," shed light on this now dead boondoggle.

POGO's report was featured in a New York Times front-page story that caused Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to formally request an explanation from the Air Force. The proposal also was the subject of an investigation by the Department of Defense Inspector General and drew criticism from some Congressional leaders. Although the plan would have provided little or no benefit for the taxpayers, at the time a Boeing news release quoted Druyun as saying the "program is very appealing to all parties involved: the Air Force, the commercial operators, the manufacturers and the American taxpayer."

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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