It’s hardly a secret that retired admirals and generals are highly coveted by defense contractors, who often pay them a pretty penny for their inside expertise and contacts. They might also be paying them for their current inside information. The Pentagon has hired at least 158 retired admirals and generals to serve as well-paid part-time advisers, or “senior mentors” as they’re officially called. They make hundreds of dollars an hour as advisers, which can amount to more than triple the rate of high-level, active-duty officers, while at the same time they get an even bigger paycheck to be consultants and board members at defense companies. The vast majority of “senior mentors” have some sort of financial tie to defense contractors, but since they’re hired as independent contractors, government ethics rules don’t apply to them. There’s nothing illegal about this system but it “invites abuse,” as one government-contracting expert said.
Read original story in USA Today | Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009