People are forever complaining about the so-called “revolving door,” which has government officials leaving public employment to work for companies they dealt with while in government.
There may not be those kinds of spinning doors on Coast Guard cutters, but it’s plain there’s a close relationship between those guarding our coasts and those who supply them. More than half of the Coast Guard brass that has retired since 2006 ended up on the payrolls of Coast Guard contractors.
According to a Government Accountability Office report to Congress on Thursday:
A total of 22 of the 39 former high-ranking officials (admiral-level and SES officials) who separated from the Coast Guard from 2006 through 2010 were compensated at some point from 2006 through 2011 by contractors that received obligations from the Coast Guard in calendar year 2011. We found that 12 of these former officials were compensated in calendar year 2011 by major Coast Guard contractors—those contractors receiving more than $10 million in obligations during that calendar year. The responsibilities of these officials vary, but 9 of these 12 officials were assigned by major contractors to positions involving the development of new business.
The GAO goes on to note that such jobs are allowed by law, so long as the former government official complies with certain restrictions on his or her activities with the new employer.
Take procurement officials, for example. The GAO notes that
Former specified acquisition officials who performed certain procurement duties for the government on a contract valued in excess of $10 million are barred from accepting any compensation (e.g., as an employee, independent contractor, or consultant) from the contractor involved within 1 year after performing those duties.
Not sure a year adequately protects the taxpayer, but sure it helps former Coast Guard officials weather the loss of their government paychecks. Think of these jobs as…lifestyle preservers.