Bloomberg just published an article about Boeing's QA fraud on it's F-15 and F/A-18 fighter jet programs in Boeing's St. Charles, Missouri, factory, as well as Boeing's St. Louis, Missouri, factory.
Per the article, the problems Boeing was written up for by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) extended to other defense program work done at the two factories in addition to the two noted fighter jet programs.
Visitors to this site won't be surprised about this news, as I have written about Boeing's defense contracting fraud on the "Other Boeing Fraud" page, as well as my blog just prior to this one, in which I detailed how Boeing is spreading its QA fraud across the corrupt enterprise to pretty much all of its commercial and military programs, including its NASA programs.
My further comments about this latest proof that Boeing defrauds all of us U.S. taxpayers, in addition to its other customers, are after referenced sections of the article below, in bold:
"Pentagon Cited Boeing Over Quality Concerns Going Back Years
Problems include missing fastners on undelivered F/A-18 jets
Boeing says it’s working with watchdog to fix issues raised
Boeing Co. was cited by the Pentagon for continuing quality, management and other deficiencies first issued more than two years ago, including problems related to production of its flagship F/A-18 and F-15 jets, according to documents and officials."
Wow. These instances of Boeing fraud were first written up more than two years ago and are just coming to light now? Better late than never, I guess. No surprise that quality, management, and other deficiencies exist at the noted two plants, as they exist at all Boeing plants due to Boeing Headquarters intentionally spreading such quality subversion methods across the enterprise as noted in my last blog like cancer.
As I have detailed many times before, Boeing has intentionally engaged in this fraud for decades, as they know it is easy to enhance the bottom line by having its mechanics and inspectors falsify production records that its products were fully inspected, tested, and conforming, when those inspections and tests are largely not done.
Boeing knows that the wider and deeper this fraud is extended across the corrupt enterprise, the more it profits via such fraud. The few cases like this article details that Boeing is caught doing so are so rare and inconsequential to Boeing's continuance of this fraud that Boeing isn't deterred at all in continuing to commit such fraud. As I've written before, Boeing makes hundreds of millions via this fraud every year.
If Boeing was forced to actually stop such fraud, it would lose those hundreds of millions in profit, as well as additional millions by having to slow down production lines so that mechanics and especially inspectors actually have the time they need to do their jobs correctly.
Boeing's Board of Directors first became undeniably the leader of this fraud on 10/13/02, when I reported rampant QA management fraud throughout Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) in detail to Doug Bain, then Boeing's Chief Counsel, and he refused to have the company do anything about it. Boeing has only doubled down on such fraud since then "leaning out" flow time from production lines to have inspectors actually inspect and document the defects in manufacturing's work before that work delivers to customers.
"Flaws at Boeing’s St. Louis aircraft production facility ranged from missing, backwards and out-of-specification fasteners found on undelivered F/A-18s and F-15s to oversized holes, missing components and incorrect parts installed on the factory’s production line, according to four “Corrective Action Requests” issued by the Pentagon’s contractor watchdog."
Wow. Boeing really has spread BCA's QA fraud throughout the company. Those exact defects likely exist on every Boeing commercial airplane and commercial airplane military derivative Boeing almost builds and delivers, in addition to these fighter jets. Such things are inevitable when production flow time is too short, and you encourage Boeing inspectors in every way you can to rollerstamp inspections off rather than letting them actually perform them per procedure and the relevant planning, drawings, and specifications.
"In other cases, planes under assembly inadvertently hit maintenance work stands or other equipment on the floor, damaging the aircraft, the Defense Contract Management Agency said in a statement to Bloomberg News."
This is pure carelessness by Boeing. It could be the exact kind of fraud I saw on the Boeing B-2 Program, where management refused to take a very old and extremely defect proned mechanic off of the job of drilling the hinges for the flight control surfaces on the outboard wing section, likely because he generated some very expensive rejection tags Boeing made a mint on in charging that repair work to the DOD. As I remember, the only thing that stopped him from generating more bad and crooked holes was his reaching retirement age and retiring. Inadequate manpower through management cost cutting to enhance Boeing profitability is likely the root cause for these mishaps. Not enough spotters during a line move is the likely cause. Although Boeing management are fraudsters, even I doubt they intentionally ordered mechanics to damage the fighters. That would be a new frontier in Boeing management fraud as far as I know.
"Some of the issues remain unresolved after more than 904 days, according to records compiled by the agency. They included other programs at the company’s St. Charles, Missouri, facility as well as the St. Louis aircraft production line, the agency said."
Makes sense. Boeing management, as noted throughout this site has long tried to spread this fraud from its commercial airplane programs throughout the company, most recently as noted in the last blog before this one, where Boeing is replacing QA Inspectors' job titles across the country to "Product Acceptance Specialists," to officially designate their function as rollerstampers, and not inspectors at all.
"As the Pentagon’s No. 2 contractor, Boeing’s situation is a sign of the types of accountability issues the Defense Department will increasingly have to show it can manage as companies benefit from a surge in military spending. The final appropriations bill for this fiscal year boosted defense procurement spending to $134 billion, $20 billion over the Pentagon’s initial weapons request for the year, and $131 billion is requested for procurement next year."
Sad. Boeing should get none of that extra DOD money, and should have its existing contracts cancelled and re-bid to every other company qualified to perform the contracts, except Boeing, which should be limited to unmanned and non-defense critical programs only, both commercial and military. It's nice that DCMA wrote these items up, but the actual level of Boeing fraud on the noted programs is almost surely vastly worse. The way these oversight agencies work, in my experience with the FAA, is that they will write up a few items each year to justify their jobs, and then just twiddle their thumbs the rest of the year, while Boeing continues to engage in their usual QA fraud on a massive scale. It is nothing more than pretend oversight. The FAA was regulatory captured long ago, and no doubt major portions of the DOD and its oversight functions have as well. Hence these very occasional Kabuki dances of audit results. If the DCMA were to actually perform its oversight function, the noncompliances found would be orders of magnitude greater.
As I futilely asked the FAA to do in my report, the only way to truly find out how much QA fraud Boeing engages in would be to replace Boeing inspectors with qualified and unbiased government inspectors who never worked at Boeing for a significant time. If the DCMA or the FAA did so, Boeing production lines would have to be massively slowed down, not because the government inspectors were slacking off, but because there was never enough time in the production process for Boeing inspectors, and even mechanics to do their jobs right.
The Chicago-based company said it’s addressing the watchdog’s concerns.
“Boeing and the Defense Contract Management Agency work together to address open corrective action requests through the evaluation and implementation of solutions that resolve identified issues,” spokesman Philip Carder said in an email response to questions about the unresolved alerts."
How do you tell when a Boeing spokesperson is lying? Of course, when their lips move or their fingers move on a keyboard.
“Boeing is either currently implementing corrective plans already approved by DCMA or awaiting approval from the agency on corrective plans we have submitted” for the four open requests, Carder added.
Yeah right. As you will see later in this article, Boeing puts its "business imperatives" like profitability, and on time deliveries so Boeing gets paid as early as possible, over the quality and safety of its defect riddled products.
"The watchdog is responsible for monitoring the performance of defense contracts at company facilities. It issues Corrective Action Requests, or CARs, of varying degrees of severity from a Category I -- the most basic -- to Category III and IV alerts that go to top management. Boeing has four Category III requests outstanding."
This is a serious level of defense contract fraud. And, of course, corrupt Boeing management is responsible, as usual.
President Donald Trump has become a vocal advocate of Boeing’s fighter jets, regularly promoting their capabilities to visiting heads of state. The president’s fiscal 2019 budget plan requests $2 billion to add 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jets next year and 110 jets through 2023. The Obama administration had proposed ending purchases of the plane this year.
“The F-18, my favorite plane, is a work of art,” Trump told an audience of Boeing workers in March at the St. Louis plant. “We just looked at different versions of it, and it is spectacular.”
Before this praise, however, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, Ellen Lord, brought up the unresolved quality alerts with Boeing Defense, Space and Security President Leanne Caret during a regularly scheduled Jan. 29 review of the company’s portfolio, the agency said in a statement to Bloomberg News.'
It would be better if Boeing fighters were just works of art rather than operational jet fighters, for the sake of military pilots. At least they have ejection seats, which are hopefully not built by Boeing. Even though they do, these fighters seem to be crashing more often than before. A South Korea Air Force Boeing F-15K fighter crashed at the beginning of this month, killing at least one of the two pilots. An F/A-18 crashed just last month, killing both pilots. On second thought, the ejection seats don't seem to be eliminating pilot death as much as hoped.
“Since Ms. Lord brought the issue up, the DCMA and Boeing have had more substantive discussions regarding resolution,” according to the agency.
A CAR issuance is often followed by a lengthy back-and-forth between the company cited and the agency as they discuss the form and substance of an adequate corrective plan, drafts of the plan, its implementation and, eventually, verification that the highlighted problems were fixed.
The two oldest outstanding cases with Boeing remain unresolved after more than 900 and 800 days, respectively. The oldest was issued because Boeing had an ineffective corrective system that “failed to prevent recurrence of” deficiencies “identified through multiple repeat ‘safety of flight’” flaws, or “non-conformances.”'
Wow. Boeing tries to delude everyone when these quality issues arise as a result of their QA fraud that the defects found never affect the safety of flight of the airplanes they are found on.
They will have a hard time doing so with this article. Looks like Boeing drug its feet even on addressing safety of flight defects. That fits in with my experience at Boeing. Boeing rarely acknowledges such defects, as it pokes holes in their QA fraud efforts if mechanics and inspectors find out that doing their jobs poorly actually could kill someone. Mechanics and inspectors might start actually reading drawings, specifications, and plans when they do their work, instead of just slapping parts together as fast as they can (mechanics) and rollerstamping production records off (inspectors, or as Boeing calls them, "Production Acceptance Specialists").
'The second-oldest unresolved alert was issued for what’s called “ineffective control” of material that didn’t meet specifications because of the company’s “departure from contractual requirements regarding the identification, control and disclosure of non-conforming material,” the agency said.'
Corrupt Boeing management has been at this for years. I've heard of Boeing managers tearing up pickups (now rework Non-Conformance Records) and rejection tags (Now repair Non-Conformance Records) that they wanted to get rid of to speed production flow. I imagine it is much easier for them to do now that everything isn't paper-based, and is online. Corrupt Boeing QA managers never have to leave their desks anymore, and can just cancel NCRs for manufacturing from the comfort of their offices. Of course known defective parts get installed on Boeing airplanes too, as they did in the Ducommon discrepant part situation, even if they have to be hammered into place. As a Boeing inspector, most of the few times manufacturing mechanics asked me to write an NCR were when they couldn't figure how to continue production because of a part's defect.
A third unresolved request has been lingering for more than 737 days. It was originally issued to highlight inadequate “management responsibility” on the F-15 program. The agency found “repeat instances of aircraft damage” and safety “non-compliances” to technical orders that “demonstrated a failure in Boeing St. Louis top management” of a “commitment to ensure compliance to requirements.”
An agency synopsis prepared for senior Defense Department officials before Lord’s January meeting said that “to date, the CARs have been ineffective in preventing recurrence” of issues even after the agency invoked what at the time was $35 million in withheld payments intended “to focus and incentivize Boeing.” The company, however, “continues to display a pattern of focusing” more on actions to “maintain cash flow, increase profit and achieve contract award,” according to the synopsis.
While the four CARs remain unresolved to the Pentagon’s satisfaction, the amount withheld by the Pentagon has since been reduced to about $27 million, the agency said.'
This is more evidence of the corruption of Boeing management. I had a QA Supervisor when I was in flight test QA that sort of parodied his bosses direction to "go out every day and try to raise the stock price." Boeing management from the CEO on down was telling managers that their #1 job was to do anything they could to raise the Boeing stock price upon which much of their compensation was based. How do you raise the stock price if you are a Boeing QA manager when your entire department is determined a "non-value added" cost to the bottom line by Boeing management? Engage in QA fraud, so that QA costs and rework and repair costs are minimized, by ensuring as many defects as possible deliver unreworked/unrepaired to Boeing customers.
Boeing makes money from maintenance, spares, and AOG work, which is another incentive for Boeing to not build its products with the required levels of quality, safety, and conformity the first time.
This is a huge article giving just a peek inside the corrupt enterprise that is Boeing. Of course, as usual, you can see much more about such Boeing fraud here. It would be interesting to find out who leaked this to Bloomberg. I wonder if someone at the DCMA leaked it to get Boeing to finally fix these items. I know it wasn't the DOD's #2, who is a former Boeing Executive who never should have been given the Deputy Secretary of Defense job. The Swamp is getting bigger, especially between corrupt Boeing and the DOD. Sad. Read my blog below for the noted details on how Boeing is spreading this anti-quality, anti-safety fraud across the enterprise for "maximum value."
The Last Inspector