Ethics rule could slow DOD's revolving employment door

DOD requires written ethics approval for senior officials, who have worked personally and had major decision-making authority on a DOD contract.

Defense Department employees who have worked on large procurements must get a written opinion from an ethics officer before taking a job with a defense contractor, according to a new rule.

The approval is required for senior officials, who have worked personally and had major decision-making authority on a DOD acquisition worth more than $10 million. It also applies to officials who have held key acquisition positions at DOD, the rule states.

A defense contractor is also restricted from paying such a DOD official, who left DOD less than two years ago, without first determining that the official has received or appropriately requested a post-employment ethics opinion, the rule states.

The new rule, which amends the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), goes into effect today.

The rule is based on a provision in the fiscal 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

In a 2008 report, the Government Accountability Office said that 52 contractors in 2006 employed 2,435 former DOD senior officials, such as generals and admirals, and acquisition officials, such as contracting officers. Based on employment data gathered from contractors, GAO also estimated that at least 422 former officials could have worked on defense contracts related to their former agencies and at least nine officials could have worked on the same contracts that they had overseen or made important decisions about while at DOD, according to the report. However, GAO said many of the contractors had policies to comply post-DOD employment rules.

In another rule, DOD added a new part to the DFARS, dealing with whistleblower protections for defense contractor employees who tell DOD about waste and abuses. The rule expands the types of information that the protections apply to and the categories of federal officials to whom the information may be disclosed without reprisal.

The rule also becomes effective today.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group