According to a report released Wednesday, August 13th by the Defense Department Inspector General’s office, a former Google Inb (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive who headed up a $3 billion Pentagon agency responsible for developing technology for the U.S. military violated ethics rules by advocating the purchase of software from a company she had previously founded.
Regina Dugan was DARPA director for nearly three years
Regina Dugan, who was the chief of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for almost three years from July 2009 until March 2012, was cited by the Inspector General’s office for endorsing a specific product, service or enterprise, a violation of the department’s code of ethics.
More details from the IG’s report
The IG report noted that she briefed senior defense officials on methods for U.S. troops to find improvised explosive devices and bomb-making locations on several occasions while serving as DARPA’s director. Moreover, the meetings created business opportunities for RedXDefense, LLC, in which she was a former CEO. the Defense Dept. IG report was released to The Washington Post through the Freedom of Information Act request.
“In communications with senior DoD officials, she used RedX proprietary and other materials originally developed for and used in RedX sales presentations,” reads the IG report. “She advanced a theory integral to RedX product development, promoted a multi-step process the RedX product suite used to implement the theory, highlighted the results of field trials that used RedX products to demonstrate the efficacy of the theory and process, and featured a RedX sales slogan. She also endorsed the adoption of an effort to put sensors on dogs, an extension of a DARPA project on which RedX performed.”
The report specifically mentioned a Sept. 11, 2009 meeting with Marine Gen. James N. Mattis and Army Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz. Mattis and Metz saw a presentation from her that included elements of the sales pitch for her former company’s technology, including the slogan “Shoot the archer, not the arrow.”
At a minimum, the IG found, the presentation led to “the creation of a business lead for RedX.” Although Dugan requested legal advice on how to proceed with the meeting, she did not disclose that she would use RedX sales material in the presentations. The report did not recommend any punishment for the ethics breach.
Regina Dugan denies allegations
Regina Dugan has denied the allegations, saying she sought legal counsel before the meetings, the report noted.
On Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Google commented that the investigation was closed over a year ago, and that the search giant stands behind Dugan.