“I truly believed in my country. And for me to turn and say that I’m afraid of my country breaks my heart.”
Former Army National Guard Recruiting Assistant
The Army National Guard (ANG), seeking new recruits in 2005, began the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP). Almost 300,000 Guard soldiers – at the request of their Command – signed up to serve as personal ambassadors for the ANG, in an effort to bolster the number of enlistees. Approximately 109,000 of these soldiers became active Recruiting Assistants (RAs), bringing close to 150,000 new enlistees into the program. By all measures this was a uniquely successful program.
A private company administered G-RAP. Docupak, an advertising specialties company, was awarded $350 million by government to promote, manage, administer and monitor G-RAP. Docupak in turn, hired the RAs as private contractors, and offered a monetary recruitment incentive: For every soldier enlisted, they were paid up to $2,000 (up to $8500 for an officer).
In 2012, an Army audit was leaked to the Washington Post, alleging that Docupak had been awarded the contract illegally and that thousands of Guardsmen and women defrauded the program. Congress took notice and Army has used this opportunity to tarnish the Guard while steering attention away from any fraud that might have occurred in the Army or any of the other military Recruiting Assistance Programs.
Despite the Army’s report to Congress that the amount of fraud could go as high as $100 million, and after spending an estimated $40 million on investigations and prosecutions, the Government has recovered roughly $2.5 million (as of 5/2016) in what are considered fraudulent payments. That number includes those who still claim they were innocent but pled guilty, or accepted a bargain, in order to avoid exposure to jail time and/or had no money to defend themselves.
Thousands of Guard soldiers and veterans who participated in G-RAP, have been investigated by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID); thousands of those soldiers and veterans – many of them decorated war heroes – have seen their lives and careers ruined by this investigation.
Why would the Army believe that over 100,000 brave men and women, who have sworn to protect their country, would risk their careers by committing fraud?
“This domestic attack on the Army National Guard must stop. The Army must own up to their embellished Congressional testimony and set the record straight. The Army, and especially the CID Command, owe it to each and every Guard member whose life has been terrorized and ruined to make them whole again, whatever it takes—do the right thing. And it needs to happen now.”