Two senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee have written to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta looking for answers regarding the Air Force’s recent decision to cancel its Expeditionary Combat Support System.
The ECSS was touted as the largest change in Air Force logistics history, and was supposed to establish the service’s first capability to globally view, standardize and manage logistics resources. But after spending $1 billion
However, in a Nov. 8 statement, Air Force Spokesman Ed Gulick said ECSS is “no longer a viable option” for meeting a fiscal 2017 deadline for having auditable books. “Therefore, we are canceling the program and moving forward with other options.” The cancellation will cost up to 115 contract employees their jobs and require the “realignment” of 55 military personnel and government civilian employees, he said.
And now Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman, and John McCain, R-Ariz., ranking member, want to know what happened.
In their Dec. 5 letter to Panetta, they write “From what we know to date, this case appears to be one of the most egregious examples of mismanagement in recent memory. We believe that the public and the taxpayers deserve a clear explanation of how the Air Force came to spend more than $1 billion without receiving any significant military capability, who will be held accountable and what steps the Department is taking to ensure that this will not happen again.”
Along with asking what “the Air Force has gained from the $1 billion it has spent … and what capabilities, if any, will be salvaged from the program” the two senators also want to know what steps the Defense Department will take to consider the contractor’s failure on this program in future contract award decisions.