After discovering that civilian Army bureaucrats were pumping dangerous trans fat into soldiers via their rations, I was outraged. Trans fat causes coronary heart disease, the #1 killer of Americans. And when the Army Combat Feeding bureaucracy puts trans fat in rations, the troops downrange have no choice but to eat it.
Some primary culprits were the trans-fat-loaded "Hooah" and "FirstStrike" energy bars that the Army Natick Soldier Center was feeding to troops by the hundreds of thousands. The Army was feeding millions of other trans-fat items to troops, too. And making matters worse, the civilian bureaucrats were covering it up by
a) hiding the trans fat from the troops (i.e., not listing it in the Nutrition Facts, which is a violation of FDA regs), and
b) making disturbing claims that trans fats were actually useful.
It was unacceptable. So my brothers and I pioneered the movement to end trans fat in troop feeding. A small family business, we began by becoming the Army’s R&D partner in performance nutrition, and creating the healthier (and zero-trans-fat) Soldier Fuel energy bar.
Our new zero-trans-fat energy bar was winning the military tests for energy bars. It was being picked up by foreign militaries. And it was featured in the U.S. Special Operations Forces Nutrition Guide. The Army feeding bureaucrats were praising us (to our faces, at least). My brothers and I were giving each other high fives.
But despite all this, something was wrong.
Our zreo-trans-fat product was blocked from normal Army troop feeding (Army rations etc.). This puzzled us. Something was wrong. Army folks who wore the uniform (i.e. non-civlians) were happy with our efforts to get trans fat out of their food. But the civilian bureaucrats in the Army were not. Those civilian bureaucrats were freezing out our newer and healthier zero-trans-fat bars, so that they could keep feeding unhealthy trans-fat bars to troops.
We dug into it. And we uncovered entrenched corruption and dereliction of duty, in the form of civilian employees in the DoD who were:
mandating that the government buy millions of dangerous trans fat food items from their cronies at private corporations and then
force-feeding these trans fat items to troops, while
blocking healthier food items.
We continued to encourage these civilian DoD bureaucrats to remove trans fat. We continued to partner with the Army and spend a lot of money, energy, and time trying to help them fix the problem. But instead of doing the right thing, they rallied the Old Boys Network and tried to sabotage and destroy us. We learned that the civilain bureaucrats who'd praised us to our faces, were actually damning us behind our backs. These civilian Army staffers and lawyers (like Scot Chafin) were working behind the scenes to protect the existing business arrangements, and hurt us. We even discovered emails where guys like Chafin put it in writing that his intent, with regard to the crony companies, was to use his influence within the Army to "make you some bucks."
So we fought back — on behalf of the men and women in uniform — and we won. Turns out, we're the first small family business to defeat the corrupt civilian DoD feeding bureaucracy in the Court of Federal Claims. We're told we made history. But we don't care about that. We care about the troops. They shouldn't be fed ANY trans fat. And we want our court victory to shine light on the rottenness in DoD contracting that needs to be cut out.
Because they're still at it.
OLD BOYS NETWORK CORRUPTION:
Army lawyer says he wants to "bring D'Andrea down several notches" but tells a crony company that he wants to "make you some bucks."