Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced new policies on the Pentagon’s use of retired generals and admirals as high-paid consultants, some of whom were being paid up to $440 an hour. The consultants, known as “mentors” in the military, will also become subject to federal conflict-of-interest laws and regulations that will restrict the practice of advisors being paid by both the Pentagon and private contractors.
USA Today had reported that the retired officers were being generously paid to advise the Pentagon even though they were consulting for companies that were trying to sell products to the military. Their pay from the Pentagon was in addition to their six-figure military pensions.
With the United States fighting two wars and taxpayers facing mounting government debt, the Pentagon has a responsibility to ensure that defense dollars are not squandered. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who initiated an investigation of the military consulting program, said the new reforms “represent real progress.”