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Joint MOU targets fight against acquisition fraud, corruption

Robert Preston, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Civil Law Domain director; Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Contracting deputy assistant secretary; Brig. Gen. Terry Bullard, Air Force Office of Special Investigations commander; and Derek Santos, Contractor Responsibility and Conflict Resolution deputy general counsel, sign a joint memorandum of understanding at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., July 8, 2021. The MOU established the Department of the Air Force Acquisition Integrity Working Group.

Robert Preston, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Civil Law Domain director; Maj. Gen. Cameron Holt, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Contracting deputy assistant secretary; Brig. Gen. Terry Bullard, Air Force Office of Special Investigations commander; and Derek Santos, Contractor Responsibility and Conflict Resolution deputy general counsel, sign a joint memorandum of understanding at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., July 8, 2021. The MOU established the Department of the Air Force Acquisition Integrity Working Group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Eric Dietrich)

QUANTICO, Va. (AFNS) --

When the Air Force Office of Special Investigations rolled out its 2018 Strategic Plan, it listed five Lines of Effort providing a clear, attainable vector for OSI Airmen to seamlessly mesh with Air Force leadership and the Department of the Air Force moving forward.

The fifth line of effort, “Strengthen Our Partnerships,” plays a key role domestically and internationally in the counterintelligence and law enforcement arenas. Fostering partnerships expands resources and spheres of influence via information and training exchanges, and enhances multi-agency collaborative efforts through global strategic engagements and joint tactical initiatives.

“Strengthen Our Partnerships” was showcased among the deputy assistant secretary for contracting, deputy general counsel for Contractor Responsibility and Conflict Resolution, the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s director of the Civil Law Domain, and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations commander, when the parties jointly signed a memorandum of understanding July 8, agreeing collaboration in the fight against acquisition fraud and corruption is a top priority for the Department.

The MOU states, “The objective is to strengthen and extend the parties’ strategic, operational and tactical relationships, enhance information-sharing and coordinate actions to improve and advance tactics, techniques and procedures to effectively address acquisition fraud, misconduct and corruption for DAF acquisitions. The parties will serve as permanent members of the DAF Acquisition Integrity Working Group.”

The purpose of the MOU says, “The parties agree in principle to plan, work and train together to the maximum extent practicable to achieve the objectives of this MOU and to align their efforts through continued cooperation and collaboration. The parties further agree to proactively pursue remedies through shared objectives, to include: properly and swiftly sharing actionable information necessary to enable the timely pursuit of available legal, administrative and contractual remedies; facilitating criminal investigations, including those supporting the Department’s supply chain risk mitigation efforts and cybersecurity priorities; and coordinating criminal and civil litigation efforts with the Department of Justice.”

The MOU goes on to delineate specific joint and individual responsibilities of the parties.

Each of the signatories shared their thoughts entering the agreement.

“This joint agreement with our vital departmental partners will provide the critical team approach to detecting and mitigating fraud at the departmental and installation levels,” said Brig. Gen. Terry L. Bullard, AFOSI commander. “History has shown us that the more aggressively all the stakeholders in fraud prevention and detection work together, the healthier our ability to both root out fraud wherever it may be and also deter others who might be considering it.”

“As the chair of the new Acquisition Integrity Working Group for the Department of the Air Force, the General Counsel’s Office will coordinate legal remedies for corruption, fraud and other misconduct affecting the department’s transactions [such as grants, cooperative agreements and contracts],” said Derek Santos, Contractor Responsibility and Conflict Resolution deputy general counsel. “Prioritizing anti-corruption initiatives will support the National Security Strategy. Our focus is to protect military systems from those who are dishonest, through coordinated responses to any attempts to introduce counterfeit parts into our supply chain or any other attempts to compromise the business integrity of Air Force or Space Force missions.”

“This MOU updates our collaborative approach with GC and OSI in addressing acquisition fraud in the Department,” said Maj. Gen. Cameron G. Holt, Contracting deputy assistant secretary. “It builds on the teamwork required to maintain the integrity of an acquisition system that exceeds $70-plus billion spent annually. Our consistent execution of this MOU will further the public trust to safeguard the equipment, supplies, systems and services required to execute our national defense through air and space power. At all DAF command levels, contracting, GC and OSI professionals ‘plan, work, and train together’ to improve our deterrence and apply the right remedies to those who commit fraud and, in so doing, risk lives and mission accomplishment.”

“We have a terrific legacy of teamwork among the acquisition, law enforcement and legal communities that we are leveraging in the fight against acquisition fraud and corruption,” said Robert Preston II, Judge Advocate General Corps, Civil Law Domain director. “This MOU is our formal commitment to make that fight a top priority.”

This memorandum supersedes the Dec. 5, 2011 MOU among the parties, and will expire nine years after the effective date.