The U.S. Air Force and Army Corps of Engineer improperly awarded contracts for the Blue Devil Block 2 surveillance system, according to a Department of Defense Inspector General audit.
“Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (Air Force A2) personnel improperly offloaded the award of the first Blue Devil Block 2 contract in August 2010, to the Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), instead of using Air Force program and contracting personnel,” said the IG. “This occurred because Air Force A2 personnel inappropriately acted in a program management capacity by disregarding Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) personnel’s assessments that did not support the 24-month development schedule used to obtain approval and funding for Blue Devil Block 2.”
A second Blue Devil Block 2 contract was awarded by the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group in March 2011, but the contract time frame was unachievable.
“This occurred because the Director of Information Dominance Programs, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (Director, SAF/AQI) inappropriately directed 645th AESG personnel in November 2010 to expedite fielding of Blue Devil Block 2 despite AFRL [Air Force Research Laboratory] and 645th AESG assessments that determined the delivery time frame was unachievable and Blue Devil Block 2 was not suited for rapid fielding,” the audit found. “As a result, the warfighter did not receive an urgently needed capability, and about $149 million was wasted on a system the contractor did not complete.”
Investigators also faulted the Army Corps of Engineers ERDC for improperly awarding a contract in August 2010 for the Wide Area Surveillance Platform airship, which was supposed to meet requirements issued by the Air Force and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
“As a result, ERDC personnel initiated development of an Air Force system that included the development of a large airship without adequately assessing technical feasibility and cost, which contributed to the failure to fulfill an urgent operational need.”
The IG recommended that ERDC refund the Air Force for $1.1 million in questionable administrative costs.