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Defense Procurement Scandal

July 02, 1988

William Rosenau ("Better Officials, Not More Rules, Needed in Procurement," Op-Ed Page, June 24) must live in an ivory tower if he believes that graft and corruption are not widespread in defense procurement.

For 20 years I worked in the defense industry and everywhere I found corruption pervasive. Bribery, falsification of records, padding of costs and peddling defective material; this is how the defense industry treated the government, which was incredibly naive.

Rosenau is also dead wrong in his argument that corruption is not built into the system. First, the system provides for contractors designing the products they build, a practice that gives the contractor an incentive to make hardware costly; the more costly the product the more profit the contractor makes. The same argument applies to production. Because of the cost-plus nature of defense contracts, the more expensive the production process the more money the contractor makes.

But the practice that serves as the most important invitation to corruption is the practice of the Defense Department not inspecting the product it buys. Instead of inspecting the product, the government inspects the contractor's paper work with the result that the paper work is generally superb and the product generally defective.

BROOKS DRAYTON

Running Springs

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