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Gayle in MD
04-02-2010, 08:06 AM
<span style="color: #000066">This may be a start, but it isn't enough! There should be absolutely none of this, none at all. If they are going to consult with the Pentagon on foreign policy, or any military action, anytime, anywhere, after they retire from the military, then no connections should be allowed at all, with military contractors!

They should have to take their pick, do they want to stay on the DOD payroll, or do they want to represent military contractors. One or the other! Money, or patriotism!

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http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-04-01-mentors_N.htm?csp=34


<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> By Tom Vanden Brook and Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday ordered an overhaul of the Pentagon's use of retired senior officers to advise the military, limiting the pay of "senior mentors" and requiring them to disclose their business ties to defense contractors.
The new policy balances the military's desire to tap the wisdom of its former leaders "with the need to hire such experts in a manner that promotes public trust and confidence," says a Pentagon fact sheet sent to lawmakers. As the new rules take effect over the next 90 days, mentors will be subject to federal conflict-of-interest laws and regulations. Under those rules, mentors may not:

Participate in matters in which they have a conflict of interest, defined in federal law as taking officials action that has "a direct and predictable effect" on their personal interests.

Divulge non-public information to defense contractors and other outside entities.

Represent a private client on matters in which they participated personally and substantially while serving as an adviser to the military.

The policy comes in response to a USA TODAY investigation, which disclosed that retired generals and admirals were being paid hundreds of dollars an hour to advise military services even as they were consulting for companies seeking to sell products to those same services. Because the retired officers were hired as contractors, few ethics rules applied. In some cases, mentors were paid by the military to run war games involving weapons systems made by their consulting clients.


READ: Pentagon's new policy on mentors
FACT SHEET: How Pentagon defines mentors
MORE: Top military brass to hear review of 'mentors' program
CHART: See list of 'mentors' and their specialties

Mentors collected up to $440 an hour in taxpayer dollars, many times their active-duty pay. They supplemented military pensions that range as high as $220,000. USA TODAY identified 158 mentors and found that 80% had ties to the defense industry.

The services declined to disclose many details about the programs, including how much was paid to each mentor. One Pentagon offshoot, the Missile Defense Agency, refused even to disclose the names of its mentors. And there was no way for the public to learn the extent of each mentor's financial affiliations with the defense industry.

Under Gates' new rules, such secrecy will no longer be possible, salaries would be substantially reduced, and many of the current practices would be banned.

Mentors will no longer be hired as contractors, the policy says. Instead, they will have to be hired individually as temporary government employees or "highly qualified experts."

That means they will have to disclose their business ties, and those disclosure forms would be available to the public and the news media for mentors who worked more than 60 days in a year and were paid more than $119,554.

"It's about time our military leaders made some common-sense changes in the senior mentor program," said Sen. Claire McCaskill, who launched an investigation of the program as chairwoman of the contracts oversight subcommittee. "These reforms represent real progress in terms of ensuring that mentors don't have conflicts of interest. I look forward to continuing to work with the Defense Department to ensure that the senior mentor program meets the highest standards of ethics and transparency."

If they serve more than 60. days in a year, mentors may not represent clients before the military service they are advising, something many mentors have done. For example, former Air Force chief of staff Ronald Fogleman., a frequent Air Force mentor, consulted for firms seeking Air Force contracts. And retired Navy admiral Robert Natter. mentored even as he was paid by the city of Jacksonville to lobby the Navy on basing issues.

If they serve more than 60 days and are paid $155,440. or greater, they will be barred from representing clients before their service for one year after leaving the mentoring role.

Under the current system, a number of mentors are paid that much. For example, the Army paid retired general Dan McNeill $281,625 from December 2008 through August 2009, federal records show. McNeill told USA TODAY that he also consulted for defense firms but declined to name them.

The mentors programs grew throughout the past decade, as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted a dramatic increase in the volume of training.

Gates did not object to the premise of hiring retired generals. "The use of senior mentors by DoD enhances the readiness of our Armed Forces," the policy memo says.

However, the Defense secretary became concerned about the lack of rules, the levels of compensation, and the potential for unregulated conflicts of interest, according to his press secretary, Geoff Morrell. He directed Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn to review the programs and issue recommendations about potential changes.

Lynn met with the chiefs of the uniformed services last week to tell them about his findings. Gates, Lynn and the chiefs met again March 24 at the Pentagon.

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LWW
04-02-2010, 08:51 AM
I thought Obama ended lobbyists?

Oh, wait, silly me.

He just "SAID" he ended it.

LWW