It was an ugly week for the Air Force’s intelligence and analytical unit.
After a yearlong internal investigation into allegations that the unit had not adequately vetted contractors and had been engaged in inappropriate practices, the Pentagon on Thursday announced it was terminating its intelligence unit.
The decision follows a series of scandals involving the unit’s personnel, its operations, and its relationship with contractors, the officials said.
The new commander of the Air Combat Command, General Herbert Carlisle, has also ordered an overhaul of the unit and ordered an investigation into the actions of its top leaders.
“We are committed to ensuring the integrity and effectiveness of the air combat intelligence mission,” Carlisle said in a statement.
The Air Force has long relied on contractors for intelligence gathering and analysis and has long touted the value of having these companies to do its work.
But the new leadership in charge of the program has drawn criticism from some in the military, who say the unit has been hampered by internal management issues and poor oversight.
One of the most important areas where the air force has failed is the vetting of contractors, which led to the recent resignation of a senior intelligence officer in the office of the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, according to a March 6, 2019, letter from Air Force Gen. James Mattis to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Litt.
A number of contractors have faced scrutiny since the department began requiring them to undergo background checks for jobs that could be used to train pilots, Marines, and sailors.
The Defense Intelligence Association, which represents many contractors, has called on the Pentagon to hire more independent contractors.
The letter from Mattis and Litt called for the department to review its vetting policies and to establish “a more thorough process for vetting potential contract employees.”
The Pentagon also said that it would hire an independent contractor to be its acting chief of the Directorate of Defense Contracting Management, and that it was also considering hiring a civilian contractor to run the contractor training center in the United States Air Force Academy.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board to create a committee to look into how to strengthen the air defense system.
In a statement, the Defense Science board said it would convene a special commission of experts to look at the air threat.
It also said it was seeking input from defense contractors and other stakeholders to develop recommendations for improving the system.
The committee would have a full-time representative from each contractor, and would be comprised of “an outside contractor and two outside experts selected from the public,” the statement said.