McLEAN, Va. – SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and a watchdog group are questioning whether a former senior Air Force contracting official acted inappropriately by taking an executive position with a private contractor just months after awarding a multibillion-dollar rocket-launch contract that greatly benefits his new employer.
Musk, citing an article by the Washington-based National Legal and Policy Center, suggested Thursday night on Twitter that the Pentagon inspector general should investigate the actions of former Air Force civilian Roger “Scott” Correll. Earlier this year, Correll retired from his post as the Air Force’s program executive officer for space launch, where he wielded enormous influence in awarding a multibillion-dollar contract for 36 rocket launches over the next several years, shooting sensitive national security equipment into space.
The contract went to a company called United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of the nation’s two biggest weapons contractors – Chicago-based Boeing and Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. Earlier this month, Correll took a job as vice president of government acquisition and policy with Aerojet Rocketdyne, the company that supplies the rocket engines used by ULA.
“Something here smells,” said Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center. “There are a lot of unanswered questions, and the sums of money involved are so enormous that taxpayers are entitled to some answers.”
Glenn Mahone, a spokesman for Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the allegations surrounding Correll’s hiring are “completely without merit.”