Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is being investigated for allegedly showing favoritism to Boeing, where he worked for more than 30 years before joining the Pentagon.
"The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General has decided to investigate complaints we recently received that Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan allegedly took actions to promote his former employer, Boeing, and disparage its competitors, allegedly in violation of ethics rules," a DoD IG spokesperson said on Wednesday.
The inspector general's office declined to specify which actions Shanahan allegedly took, but in January, Politico first reported that Shanahan had allegedly criticized how Lockheed Martin handled the F-35 program and argued Boeing would have done a better job.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group, filed a complaint based on Politico's reporting with the inspector general's office on March 13 asking that Shanahan be investigated for allegedly promoting Boeing.
The following day, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked Shanahan if he supported launching an investigation into whether he had, "Broken any ethics rules by promoting Boeing while you served as deputy secretary of defense."
Shanahan said he did. The inspector general's office noticed.
"In his recent Senate Armed Services Committee testimony, Acting Secretary Shanahan stated that he supported an investigation into these allegations," the inspector general's office spokesperson said. "We have informed him that we have initiated this investigation."
Shanahan's spokesman issued a statement on Wednesday reiterating that the acting defense secretary supports an investigation into the complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
"Acting Secretary Shanahan has at all times remained committed to upholding his ethics agreement filed with the DoD," said Army Lt. Col. Joe Buccino. "This agreement ensures any matters pertaining to Boeing are handled by appropriate officials within the Pentagon to eliminate any perceived or actual conflict of interest issue with Boeing."
The investigation comes amid a war between defense industry giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing about whether the Pentagon should buy more F-35s or F-15Xs to replace the Air Force's fleet of F-15Cs.
Pratt & Whitney happens to make F-35 engines in Connecticut, which Blumenthal represents. A spokeswoman for Blumenthal could not be reached for comment.
Bloomberg Government first reported in December that Shanahan had advocated for purchasing F-15X aircraft. But Defense Department Comptroller Elaine McCusker said on March 12 that former Defense Secretary James Mattis made the decision to buy the Boeing aircraft.
"The F-15X provides additional capacity and readiness, especially in the near years to mid years as we look at the threats and the kinds of combat potential that we need to bring to bear," Army Lt. Gen. Anthony R. Ierardi, the Joint Staff's director of force structure, resources and assessment, said at a March 12 budget briefing.
"So as the F-35 program and the stocakge of aircraft in the fleets continue to grow, the fourth-generation fighters and that mix, we thought, was appropriate to have as we looked at the threat and the kinds of flexibility we required as we go forward."
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."