Report | Dec. 5, 2016

Investigation Regarding Assertions Made By Former United Launch Alliance Executive DODIG-2017-020

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) conducted this investigation at the request of the Secretary of Defense regarding assertions made by the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) former Vice-President of Engineering.  His assertions were related to competition for National Security Space (NSS) launch missions, and whether the United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center awarded contracts to ULA in accordance with DoD and Federal regulations.

Our investigation began with an in-depth review of the assertions.  Based on our review, we developed four investigative objectives.  To meet these objectives, we performed interviews of both DoD and contractor personnel and reviewed documents and contract awards.

First, did ULA improperly transfer five RD-180 rocket engines from NSS launch missions to commercial launch missions to influence congressional legislation?  We determined that ULA did not improperly transfer five RD-180 rocket engines from NSS launch missions to commercial launch missions.

Second, did the DoD provide an unfair advantage (“lean the field”) to ULA over other contractors during the procurement process for NSS launch contracts and was there collusion between DoD and ULA officials pertaining to the Phase 1 Block Buy and Phase 1A GPS III contracts for NSS launch missions?  We determined that the DoD did not give an unfair advantage and did not collude with ULA for NSS launch contracts.

Third, did the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics (USD[AT&L]) and the Lockheed Martin CEO violate the Procurement Integrity Act by engaging in a conversation concerning an acquisition strategy for a U.S.-made rocket engine to replace RD 180 rocket engines?  Furthermore, did the USD(AT&L) and the Lockheed Martin CEO discuss a need to find a way to “silence” Senator McCain (keep him from attacking DoD) regarding rocket engines manufactured in the Russian Federation?  Based on our interviews and the review of e-mails and calendar entries, we found no evidence that the two violated the Procurement Integrity Act.

Fourth, did ULA violate its contractual obligations by choosing not to respond to Request for Proposal FA8811-16-C-0001?  Based on multiple interviews of DoD acquisition personnel and ULA personnel, and reviews of contracts, Other Transaction Authorities, and source selection documentation, we determined that: (1) the DoD’s acquisition process was fair and equitable and (2) ULA did not have an obligation to submit proposals for competitive launch contracts.

During the DoD OIG team’s interviews of ULA’s Vice President of Engineering, he said that there was no factual basis for the assertions he made and characterized his assertions as postulation.   

This report is a result of Project Announcement: Investigation Regarding Assertions made by Former United Launch Alliance Executive.