Thunder Clouds Rising

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee have asked for a deeper probe of the conduct of senior Air Force officials in the now-defunct award of the Thunderbird Airshow Production Services contract in 2005. And a third Senator has minced no words in asking Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne why Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley hasn’t been punished for his role in the affair. Sen. Carl. Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in an April 21 letter to Pentagon Inspector General Claude Kicklighter, state that the IG office’s investigation into the Thunderbird contract issue “raises some serious questions about the role played by other more senior current and former Air Force officials.” Meanwhile Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) sounded a more angry tone in an April 24 letter to Wynne, in which she says “it is incomprehensible to me that no action has been taken to reprimand General Moseley, or to evaluate his continued fitness to lead the Air Force.” She contends that Moseley’s “command authority has been compromised.” Wynne has already issued administrative discipline of Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein and several other officers for their role in steering the Thunderbird support contract to a company called Strategic Message Solutions although its bid was twice as expensive as the other offeror and its ability to execute the contract was questionable. In response to the Senators’ letters, the Air Force’s issued a statement April 25, stating that Wynne’s action to date in the wake of the IG investigations has been appropriate and that USAF “stands ready” to support further review if called upon. (For more read Rolling Thundervision)