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Project on Government Oversight

POGO Letter to the U.S. Air Force's Suspension and Debarment official on the Army's request for action against Airtech International Inc.

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July 22, 2008 | By: Nick Schwellenbach

Steven Shaw
Suspension and Debarment Official
U.S. Air Force
4040 N. Fairfax Drive
Suite 204
Arlington, VA 22203


Re: Airtech International, Inc.

Dear Mr. Shaw:

My organization, the Project On Government Oversight, revealed in May that the Army Criminal Investigation Command sent your office a letter in 2006 recommending debarment or some other action against Airtech International, Inc., for the company’s substantiated and decade-long pattern of bribery, kickbacks and fraud.  According to the Army, Airtech defrauded major aerospace contractors, with whom the Air Force purchases billions of dollars in weapons.  The Army believes that Airtech’s activities both ultimately drive up the costs to taxpayers and, with its product substitution, introduce a significant threat to the flying safety of servicemen and women. [Attachment]

The government’s Excluded Parties List System shows that your office has not suspended or debarred Airtech or either of its two major principals, William and Jeff Dahlgren.

Airtech, on a vast scale, has supplied bogus materials or changed the manufacturer or manufacturing process without proper notification to its customers, according to a 2006 Army Criminal Investigation Command letter to the Air Force, which states, “At one time or another, Airtech has supplied some fours of nonconforming product to every aircraft manufacturer in the world.”  Also, as stated by the Army letter, “Airtech at its own discretion, routinely changes the composition, the manufacturer or the manufacturing process of products without disclosure to its customer,  which in most case would require requalification of the product.”  [Attachment]

One of the greatest risks is that “These products are originally qualified for safety concerns. Changes to the products or processes could result in contaminations to the end product, which could result in the loss of parts or safety issues if the part is put into use,” according to the Army.  Specifically, instances of product substitution were confirmed at Vought Aircraft on its subcontract work on manufacturing of the longeron accessory compartment in the Boeing C-17 program for the U.S. Air Force.   [Attachment]

Considering that the Army substantiated a long-standing pattern of activity by Airtech, it seems obvious that the numerous acts of wrongdoing committed are not isolated to those of one bad apple, but endemic to Airtech’s corporate culture.

Is the Air Force considering suspension or debarment of Airtech or either of its two principals?

If not, what actions is the Air Force seeking, if any?

If no actions are being sought, why?

What was the Air Force’s response to the Army Criminal Investigation Command?

If you have any questions or request assistance or further information, do not hesitate to contact me at 202-347-1122.

Sincerely,


Nick Schwellenbach
Investigator
Project On Government Oversight

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