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Link to Actual DOD/IG Report on America Supports You Irregularities

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DOD Inspector General Report No. D-2009-032 December 12, 2008

The America Supports You Program (LINK)

The following narrative is mine in order to translate for non-military or veteran readers exactly what the Inspector General Report said. Having been an inspector for the Air Force Office of the Inspector General, I’m able to interpret many of the acronyms that may not be familiar to the average American voter (wink) .

That said, my translation (interpretaton) is based on every FACT within the DOD/IG findings. Althought the Inspector General tried to skirt the issue of political partisanship that infested ASY with corruption, there was simply no way of getting around it.

The current Bush appointee, Robert E. Hastings Jr., has tried to downplay the legal and criminal significance of the findings by telling the public and media that the IG did an "administrative" rather than a "criminal" audit. However, just simple saying these criminal actions only warrant an administrative slap on the wrist or no punishment at all is beyond ridiculous.

What DOD/IG investigated: At the request of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the DOD/IG reviewed the administrative, procedural, and fiscal actions involving the formation and operation of the America Supports You (ASY) program.

The more I read the DOD/IG report the less I could stomach. It is THAT BAD. Thus, due to editorial limitations and possible attempts to prevent the disgrace from spreading, I will break the IG report down in several Special Reports that cover the various findings.

For a better font select printer-friendly version at right.

 

Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
Former Inspector, the Air Force Office
of the Inspector General
Staff Writer, Veterans Today
Editorial Board, Our Troops News Ladder

HAVE A GREAT VETERANS TODAY DAY AND EVERYDAY!!!
     

americasupportsyou_400What the IG Found: The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Communications and Public Liaison (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Allison Barber) was conducting the ASY program (created in 2004) in a questionable and unregulated manner, as a result, the America Supports You.mil program has produced results that were not consistent with the program’s primary objective (finding A). [To inform our troops and military families the ways and means in which the American public supports them].

A private nonprofit fund using the ASY name and logo was established to collect
monetary donations, creating confusion [and transparency] between the official DoD ASY program and the private ASY fund. As a result, the public may be unable to

differentiate between the DoD program and the private ASY fund; allowing the private fund to operate under the DoD program name basically constitutes implied endorsement [by the Department of Defense], presenting additional liability for any misuse of donations, and the private fund benefits from DoD branding the ASY program name (finding B).

The Office of the ASD(Public Affairs) [responsible for oversight of ASY] provided broad statements of work and inadequate oversight for $8.8 million [tax payer dollars] in charges made by Susan Davis International (SDI) for its public relations efforts to promote or “brand” the ASY program and the services provided appear to be personal in nature. However, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness [that favored son of the Military Retirement Community, Dr. David Chu] and the DoD General Counsel [that’s DOD’s senior legal advisor] comments did not meet the intent of the recommendations. Therefore, DOD/IG requested additional comments on Recommendations [on findings B.1. and D.3.] by January 12, 2009

20060226105420_3decarges20060226_400

DoD civilian Camille Hart, a manager for America Supports You,and Ken Fitzgerald [striped tie] with the Susan Davis International marketing firm, are in the background of this public access Defense Link Photo at a 2006 ASY Summit

As a result, in FY 2007, the [DOD Public Affairs] procured 11.5 full-time [salaried positions] from SDI for about $2.6 million to include annual [salaries] for managers/executives from $312,821 to $662,691 to perform public relations efforts. In addition, SDI was reimbursed for charges that are specifically unallowable under Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 31 and appropriation laws. (Finding C).

afisThe [now defunct]American Forces Information Service, working under the authority of the Deputy Assistant Secretary{Allison Parker was also Director of AFIS at this time] inappropriately transferred $9.2 million of [Congressionally] appropriated funds to Stars and Stripes through uniform funding and management procedures to finance ASY program expenses through its nonappropriated fund. As a result, Stars and Stripes officials failed to perform their fiduciary responsibility.

starsstripes_logoIn addition, Stars and Stripes officials lost [control] of about $4.1 million of appropriated funds transferred to ASY to promote America Supports You.mil. DOD/IG also calculated that the Stars and Stripes nonappropriated fund account has subsidized ASY expenses by about $1.9 million [in Base Exchange, Commissary, Theater and related on-base rasied subsidies] through FY 2007 (finding D).

Misuse of Tax Payer and Global War on Terror Supplemental Defense Budgets: From FY 2005 through FY 2007, the ASY program received $9.2 million of appropriated funds from briefingslide_294_070205d6570c013_400American Forces Information Service (AFIS) and from the Global War on Terror (GWOT) supplemental budget. The ASY program was mainly dependent on the funds allocated from AFIS, which totaled about $5.4 million. The ASY program received an additional $3.8 million of funds from the GWOT supplemental budget through FY 2007 ($0.8 million for FY 2006 and $3.0 million for FY 2007). The ASY program received about $3.1 million for FY 2008 from the GWOT supplemental budget.

 

 

Abuse of Contractor Support: The preponderance of the program funding was spent on contracts with Susan Davis International (SDI) for public relations services for the susan_davisprogram. A total of six contracts or delivery orders were issued that had payments totaling more than $8.8 million from September 2004 through FY 2007. A bridge order was awarded for 6 months to provide coverage for the program until a new contract could be awarded. On May 14, 2008, SDI was awarded a 1-year contract with an estimated value of $3 million and four additional 1-year options with an estimated total value of $15.3 million.

[I'll leave it to others to blog the relationship between Susan Davis, the Republican Party, President Bush, Allison Barber, the Pentagon and so on. Suffice it to say that her PR firm has it's dirty hands in almost every so-called humanitarian effort at the Pentagon. Go to the Our Clients listing on the left side of SDI's website and select U.S. Government, from the Abe Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Department of Defense Public Schools, FDR Memorial Commission, (OH GOD) General Services Administration, Library of Congress, DOD Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, National Archives and Records Admin, National Science Foundation, to you name it in Washington, DC, and her PR firm owns a piece of the ACTION. That will make getting corrupt members of Congress concerned about this IG report near impossible, but what the hell this is America, let's try - Let's Roll.)

Mismanagement of ASY Program: Since its inception, Allison Barber, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Communications and Public Liaison1 (Deputy Assistant Secretary) has provided day-to-day management of the ASY program. The ASY program was originally created as a 6-month public awareness program. However, the program continued beyond the initial 6-month period under the control and management of Ms. Barber.Because there was no Director for AFIS, she assumed the management duties for five AFIS functional activities [giving her total propaganda control over our Armed Forces]: Public Communications, Information Resource Management, American Forces Radio and Television Service, Defense Media Center, and Stars and Stripes Newspaper. The Deputy Assistant Secretary [Allison Barber] used these AFIS programs [many tax payer funded] to provide funding and support for the ASY program.

Specific Findinds:

Finding A. Questionable and Unregulated ASY Program Operations: The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Communications and Public Liaison (Deputy Assistant Secretary) was conducting the ASY program in a questionable and unregulated manner. Specifically, [Allison Barber] the [former] Deputy Assistant Secretary used contracts with Susan Davis International, a public relations firm, with
payments totaling more than $8.8 million (since September 2004) to primarily solicit or build support from school children, corporations, celebrities, and the media, and to faq_2_02organize ASY special events and procure promotional items to promote or “brand” the spacer.gifASY program during the past 3 years; misused the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference to build support and promote the ASY program; employed a corporate recognition program and displayed corporate logos on the ASY Web site, which violates DoD policy and gave preferential treatment [via political and corporate affiliation] to select ASY home front groups; and used contracts with the Advertising Council for $338,014 to promote the program through an advertising campaign and $191,024 to purchase ASY dog tags.

These questionable and unregulated actions occurred because the ASD(PA) [Allison Barber] failed to establish the ASY Steering Committee with representation from the Military Departments and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to recommend and coordinate policies and programs that provide similar support and recognition to Service members and their families.

20060626161453_asy20060626a_400However , what she and other Republican administration political appointees did achieve was a steering committee led by the outgoing President of the United States.

 

On June 26, 2006,as public support for the Iraq War began its nosedive along with support ratings of the President’s performance, President Bush met with representatives from 14 grassroots troop support groups [screened by America Supports You.mil] to talk about how they can best support America’s service members [sounds like a Steering Committee to me!]

"I have just had a remarkable discussion with some of my fellow citizens who have dedicated their lives to making sure our troops know that this country supports them as they help secure our country and spread freedom," Bush said at a news conference after the meeting.

The president mentioned America Supports You, a Defense Department program highlighting grassroots and corporate support for the nation’s military members and their families. [Obviously in direct violation of ‘his’ Pentagon’s own regulations and lord knows how many federal laws?] He invited Americans to go to the ASY Web site at www.americasupportsyou.mil to find more on how they can support the nation’s service members.

"I told the folks here that the politics in Washington can be rough," Bush said about the meeting. "They need to tell the troops that no matter how tough it looks here in the nation’s capital, that I know we’re doing the right thing, and I know we will win."

Bottom Line: Despite continuing attempts by the Pentagon to whitewash and downplay what America Supports You.mil was really established for, at the minimum contact President-elect Obama and insist that his administration not have nor used such a Steering Committee. Sometime in 2006 or so, America Supports Bush.mil began banning political statements on their website, and excluded any Support Our Troops efforts that did not, “tell the troops that no matter how tough it looks here in the nation’s capital, that Bush knows we’re doing the right thing, and Bush knows we will win." [Regardless what rhetoric comes out of the Pentagon, DOD/IG, or current home of America Supports You, ASY was created as a political propaganda apparatus, abused tax payer dollars, and cut into deparately needed Defense funds, including Iraq War supplements that really could have gone towards those troops when they became Veterans.

Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
Our Troops do not need to be reminded that Americans Support Them.
Nor do Our Troops need to be reminded that they are doing the right thing according to their former Commander-In-Chief.

[This DOD investigation is still open until January 12, 2009 awaiting inputs form DOD's top lawyers, and Dr. Henry Chu, the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to give response that will ensure a cover up or check-six. Given the timing to repond, DOD evidently wants this swept under the carpet before President Obama takes the Oath of Officer. However, WE have sufficient time for Veterans, Military Families, Our Troops, and of course American tax payers to contact our members of Congress and demand an impartial Congressional and/or Justice Department investigation to prevent any further cover up to begin after Obama takes office, and that audit should not be done by Robert Gates. ]

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments for “Link to Actual DOD/IG Report on America Supports You Irregularities”

  1. Sad, sad, sad. We as non-profits struggle to take care of needs of service members. Folks like this making thousands of dollars spending it on non-essential things for show, while those we serve are trying to make ends meet. What a disgrace to the phrase “America Supports You”. Shame on you.

  2. Bobby Hanafin, Major, USAF-Ret

    This Special Report continues in the FEATURES section with part 2. linking America Supports You.mil with President George W. Bush in what appears to be a round table Steering Committee meeting that is partisan in nature. Especially note the presence of any Uniformed Military Personnel is highly UNETHICAL, even if ordered to be there. In fact, just go a search of the Veterans Today search engine using my last name ‘hanafin,’ and one will locate all the articles and links I’ve posted on site.

    Robert L. Hanafin
    Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
    Staff Writer, Veterans Today
    Editorial Board Member, Our Troops Newsladder

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