I still maintain that the Federal Government is trying to do the People's work in a fraud free manner and usually succeeding. But, that is just my experience. Below is a comment from a person who has seen contracting in the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the IRS and BATF.
Do you hear stories about bad, even rotten, apples in our business? Yes. But, the likes of Major John Cockerham and Major Charles J. Bowie, Jr, et al. are few and far between. [Not to mention She, who must not be named.] Do you hear the stories about the good, honest hard-working apples in our business? No. There are 147,705 people in the Defense Statutory Acquisition Workforce, as of 1 December 2010. That's not even counting the thousands of support contractors. In fiscal year 2009, we, the DoD, accomplished 3,553,207 contract actions, enlisting the contractual efforts of thousands of companies around the globe. Is there fraud, waste, and abuse? Yes. Do we try to find it and rip it out by its roots? You bet. Do we wish there was none? Absolutely. Unfortunately, last time I checked, we were still living outside of the Garden of Eden, and some use their free will in the wrong-headed exercise of the freedom they have been granted.That said, corruption does exist, and not just in our fair Commonwealth. Here is an article from yesterday's Baltimore Sun on one DoD organization (The National Security Agency—sometimes referred to as No Such Agency) that has a number of contractor prosecutions under its belt (or the belt of the Baltimore US Attorney.
On the other hand, if you'd like to compare the DoD's 147,705 to another Federal Government organization that only has 535, then . . . .
The article states:
The Baltimore Sun identified 11 defendants accused within the past five years of bilking the agency. Nine of the cases were filed in the past two years, even though some of the alleged crimes reach back to the late 1990s and mid-2000s.The cases are listed in the article. In one of the cases, the defendants admitted their guilt when taking a lie detector test in order to get a security clearance to obtain more contracts. I put that down to lack of judgement.
While you may say the glass is half empty, I say it is half full, and that efforts to "make it better" may actually, over the long run, make it worse. It is my belief that to the degree we drive people down Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs", to that degree we make them less engaged and more like automatons, and thus the higher the chances that creativity and initiative will be lacking. That is to say, if you treat people like they are incapable of independent thought and action, that is what you will get. They will be stuck at the level of "Love and Belonging" and will not advance to "Esteem" and then to "Self-actualization". The problem with self-actualization is that sometimes a person will go off the rails.
Regards — Cliff