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Little Worry Shown Over Job Conflict, General Says

By Charles R. Babcock
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 26, 2005; Page E01

A retired Air Force general questioned over a possible conflict for work on a small-diameter-bomb program at Lockheed Martin Corp. testified last month that Air Force lawyers told him "not to worry about" restrictions on his employment after he had been out of government for a year.

The Air Force is reviewing the general's conduct after the Government Accountability Office expressed concern about his role in Lockheed's effort to win a contract for the small-bomb program. Sources who would speak only on the condition of anonymity because of the pending review identified the officer as retired Brig. Gen. Randall K. Bigum.

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The review comes as the U.S. attorney in Alexandria has announced an initiative to combat procurement fraud, including an examination of potential conflicts by military officials who have gone on to work for defense contractors.

The general's role was discussed in a GAO hearing on the Air Force's decision to award the small-bomb contract to Boeing Co. Lockheed protested the award after Darleen A. Druyun, a top Air Force procurement official, pleaded guilty to negotiating a $250,000-a-year job for herself at Boeing while overseeing several contracts it was bidding on.

At the GAO hearing, lawyers defending Boeing pointed to the general having been involved in the small-bomb program both in the service and later at Lockheed, according to a GAO report on the matter released yesterday.

The GAO recommended Feb. 18 that the Air Force hold a new competition for $1.7 billion of the $2.7 billion small-bomb program.

The GAO's report said Druyun had "significant involvement" in deciding to delete a requirement in the contract that the bomb hit moving targets, a capability considered a strength of Lockheed's bid and a weakness for Boeing's. It also described confusion in the Air Force procurement office over who was in charge of the program.

The report recounted the general's role, without naming him, citing concerns including his having participated in an "acquisitions strategy" meeting for the program with Druyun before he retired.

Bigum declined to comment yesterday. Air Force and Lockheed spokesmen said that, contrary to the description in the GAO report, both take the "revolving door" rules seriously.

A Lockheed spokesman, Tom Jurkowsky, said "the gentleman in question worked on the bomb program on the requirements side" while he was in the Air Force, and his role was limited to defining the military's needs.

Bigum's biography on the Pentagon Web site shows that before he retired on Oct. 1, 2001, he was director of requirements at the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va. He went to work for Lockheed, and in October 2002 was appointed vice president of the company's strike weapons business, including the small-diameter bomb, in Orlando.

Federal law says former government officials can't try to influence their former agency on any subject for one year, or for two years on any matter pending under their responsibility during their last year in the government. There is a lifetime ban on representing a new employer on any specific matter an official worked on directly.

The GAO report said the general testified he had asked for a letter from Air Force lawyers before he retired, outlining post-government-employment restrictions. He said he was subsequently advised by Air Force lawyers that he had to deal only with the one-year restriction and not to worry about the longer-term ones, which the letter said might apply to him. He said he was told those were cited by the attorneys only to "cover their butt."

Doug Karas, a spokesman for the Air Force, said that description "is absolutely not a reflection of Air Force attitude or policy."

The general also testified, the GAO said, that he couldn't recall Lockheed requesting that he identify the particular matters he worked on before his retirement. Jurkowsky said, "We are confident we fully complied with all applicable post-government-employment regulations."

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