Lawmakers press Pentagon for answers about veterans’ foreign jobs – The Washington Post

by | Dec 5, 2022 | Jobs

Comment on this storyCommentGift ArticleMembers of Congress said they were alarmed by a Washington Post investigation that revealed hundreds of retired U.S. military personnel have taken high-paying jobs as contractors and consultants for foreign governments, mostly in countries known for political repression.Citing concerns about undue foreign influence and risks to national security, several lawmakers from both parties said they will push the Pentagon and the State Department to improve their transparency and oversight for veterans who work for foreign powers.“The American people put significant trust in our military leaders and deserve to know when they take lucrative jobs advising foreign governments, especially those with known human rights abuses,” Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) said in a statement Monday. “Given the eye-opening reporting from The Washington Post, the administration has several questions to answer around how these waivers are approved, how potential conflicts of interest are addressed, and why enforcement is rarely undertaken.”AdvertisementIn a joint letter sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called The Post’s findings “disturbing” and said they “demand explanation.” The senators requested that the Pentagon provide a decade’s worth of data regarding retired military personnel who have sought jobs with foreign governments and more details about the Defense Department’s efforts to regulate such work.“The apparent lack of internal policing in this matter is gravely troubling given the national security interests at stake,” the senators said in their Nov. 30 letter. Grassley is the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Warren is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.J. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to comment on the senators’ letter to Austin. “The secretary responds to congressional correspondence directly,” he said in an email.AdvertisementIn a multipart series titled “Foreign Servants,” The Post reported that more than 500 retired military personnel — including scores of generals and admirals — have taken lucrative jobs working for foreign governments since 2015. Almost two-thirds of the positions have been in the Middle East and North Africa, where governments pay top dollar for U.S. military expertise.Under federal law, retired troops are permitted to work for foreign governments if they first obtain approval from their branch of the armed forces and the State Department. But federal agencies have fought to keep virtually all details about the arrangements a secret. The Post had to sue the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the State Department under the Freedom of …

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