A federal investigation is looking into the possible misspending of $8.7 million by the Iowa Department of Public Defense, which includes the Iowa National Guard, on a space-age project dubbed the “digital warrior.” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter last week to the U.S. Defense Department Inspector General, endorsing the investigation. Grassley says he’s been in contact with Major General Ron Dardis, the Iowa Guard’s adjutant general, about the probe. Reports say the money was supposed to be pumped into a now-dead project that would have created a virtual battlefield lab for military research at Camp Dodge, near Des Moines. A Des Moines Register report says a National Guard Bureau memo shows federal money was used instead on Christmas parties, payments for individual retirement accounts, an office in Arizona and other things. Grassley says it appears there are discrepancies, so he backs the full Grassley says he’s very disappointed that this may “put the kibosh” on having the virtual battlefield at Camp Dodge. Grassley says he wants to “get to the bottom of it” and make sure everything’s done right. The high-tech military research lab was to have been called CIVIC, for Consolidated Interactive Virtual Information Center. The project was killed in September and the Iowa Guard general who was in charge of it was reassigned. Grassley says it’s a great loss, for the Guard and for Iowa. It was hoped the project would blossom into an 80-million dollar venture that could have involved hundreds of civilian jobs. The so-called digital warrior lab would have allowed Guard members in Iowa and elsewhere to take part in virtual training exercises in a computerized environment.
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