Stories abound about how the lives and careers of veterans and soldiers in the National Guard are being destroyed by the Army Criminal Investigation (CID) investigation into the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP). Federal felony charges are filed against soldiers whose commanders pushed them to enroll in G-RAP. The Guard itself heavily promoted the program, providing incentives, such as rides in F-15s and challenge coins; the Guard publicized success stories in Guard magazines; and, honored those who were most successful bringing in new enlistees for the Guard. Those very people who were lauded and rewarded for their G-RAP successes are now pursued as felons.
In my opinion, the “why” is like a playground bully who not only wants to win the game but wants to leave with all the playground toys, as well.
When the Army launched its own investigation of alleged G-RAP fraud in 2007, and deliberately excluded Guard leadership from the issue, it set the stage for creating the image that the National Guard was unable to handle its own affairs. There was no love at the top level of the military for the National Guard. In 2012, General Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, objected to appointing a Guard general to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, citing no military need. 1 A few years later, General Odierno was quoted saying, “The Army National Guard just isn’t good enough to be relied upon more in the future.”2 This was in response to continuing the fund the Guard as a fighting force, as had been the case in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The recently released report on the Future of the Army sides with Big Army and notes several ways that the National Guard’s budget and responsibilities could be better managed by the Army. Among them: recruiting and maintaining Apache helicopters.3
Recruiting. After four years of hunting the National Guard and finding fraud under every recruiter’s rock, the Army has well-positioned itself to be regarded as the better-managed organization. And the Army has used G-RAP to help make that case.
The Army Audit Agency conducted five separate audits of G-RAP, despite the fact that the Army and Army Reserve ran similar programs with parallel rules. In the Army’s version of the program, $3.8 million was given to one couple in Texas for using their illegal website to refer individuals for enlistment. 4 Despite widespread publicity, CID has left the $3.8 million alone while hundreds of Army agents have been set loose on G-RAP, investigating a “crime” in the National Guard that the Army defined, the Army audited, the Army investigated, and the Army has prosecuted both in the courts and administratively. In some cases, the G-RAP “crime” amounted to just one payment of $2000 when recruits could not remember the name of the individuals who recruited them. How can that lead to a felony indictment?!
Lt General David Quantock was Commander of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division when he testified before Congress in 2014. That was reason enough to encourage Senator McCaskill to endorse the G-RAP massive investigation. This was a massive jobs program for CID; 200 reservists were brought up to participate in the effort. And now Lt Gen Quantock is the Inspector General of the Army. Any questions or complaints about his conduct or the CID investigation must first be reviewed by his office.
The National Guard Bureau has done nothing to protect its soldiers, because it is likely that they too, could be targets of America’s rogue police force, the Army Criminal Investigation Division.
Senator McCaskill took as gospel the statistical formulas, the raw numbers, and the allegations that the Army fed her. In 2012 the Army Audit Agency’s report on G-RAP was classified until it was leaked to the Washington Post. 5 This was the story that Senator McCaskill used as the basis for her hearing on “Fraud, Waste and Abuse in Government Contracts.”
“These are criminals that have dishonored the uniform that we are all so proud of,” McCaskill said in response to the Army reports, paving the way for the Army to spend an estimated $40 million to find less than $3 million in actual fraud. 6
Although Senator McCaskill is no longer chair of that committee, and the committee has been effectively disbanded, CID marches through soldiers’ and veterans’ lives because the Senator promised that, “we will do a report card and we will go after the States that did such a poor job at this.” No one wants to be the commander of that poorly run state so the National Guard has stood by as the Army chews its way through the troops. Mission accomplished.
G-RAP was called the most successful recruiting program in military history until it was characterized as the largest fraud investigation in military history. Why?
It is up to the Army, Lt General Quantock and Senator McCaskill to set the record straight:
Why is the Department of Justice pursuing federal cases for amounts of money that are less than the cost to prosecute?
Most importantly, why are soldiers having their lives and careers destroyed over a program that every audit points to confusion, mismanagement and opacity?
Because there are no easy answers to “why,” it absolutely needs to stop.