Afghan Maintenance Program You Pay For Wastes $423 Million

So, Afghanistan. America’s longest and wackiest war will soon enter its 16th year, and is scheduled to run through the next administration, as no one can remember why the U.S. is fighting there anymore and so no one knows when this thing is over. Did we win yet? How would we know?

None of that matters of course, because plenty of American contractors are in their 16th year of getting filthy rich, thanks to extraordinary amounts of money being spent with no effective oversight by the Department of Defense. Let’s have the latest example.

Our friends at the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) are the poor b*stards charging with keeping track of all this waste. Once upon a time the point of an Inspector General was to point things out to upper management, like generals or Congress, so problems could be addressed. In 2016, the point of the Inspector General is to be ignored because no one in Washington actually care to fix anything.

Nonetheless, SIGAR has its job, and so has published an audit of America’s Afghan National Army Technical Equipment Maintenance Program, designed to maintain Afghan army vehicles at our expense and develop a vehicle maintenance capacity within the army.

It has not gone well. The audit notes:

  • The five-year contract, originally valued at a fixed price of nearly $182 million, increased to $423 million due to contract modifications. The thing is still amusingly referred to as a “fixed price contract,” because words mean something else in the land of fairies and procurement.
  • The failure of the contractor, Afghanistan Integrated Support Services, to meet its most basic contract requirements and program objectives, and Department of Defense inaction to correct contractor deficiencies and seek repayment of funds, has resulted in not only the waste of US taxpayer funds but in the need for a new maintenance contract that is projected to cost more than $1 billion over the next five years.
  • The contract was originally structured based on the assumption that the Afghan army had the capability to provide spare parts when and where they were needed, and that the Afghan army was capable of performing higher-level maintenance tasks, even though it had ample evidence that such capabilities did not exist.
  • The US placed orders for spare parts for Afghan army vehicles without accurate information as to what parts were needed or already in stock.
  • The contract performance metric did not accurately assess contractor performance or progress toward contract objectives.
  • The contractor was cited 113 times for failing to fulfill contract requirements.
  • SIGAR found a number of instances where DOD could have demanded, but did not demand, repayment for services not rendered or inadequate services rendered.
  • The contractor was compensated for repairs it made based on the number of vehicles in the Afghan vehicle fleet and not on the actual number of vehicles repaired. Payments to the contractor based on Afghan army vehicle inventory and not vehicles actually repaired resulted in escalating per-vehicle repair costs from a low of $1,889 to a high per-vehicle repair cost of $51,395.
  • The Afghan army continues to suffer gaps in vehicle readiness, accountability, maintenance management, and supply chain management, and that these gaps affected their ability to execute military operations.

Some of this could possibly explain why the US keeps losing the war.

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during Iraqi reconstruction in his first book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99 Percent. Reprinted from the his blog with permission.

2 thoughts on “Afghan Maintenance Program You Pay For Wastes $423 Million”

  1. They were the poorest country in the world at the start, had 5 aircraft in the whole country and after like ten minutes of bombing they had none.

    It’s where empires go to die. The only one who made it past that was Alexander, who recruited them instead of conquering them. The British lost repeatedly. Not in battle exactly. More like the Afghans ran them broke. That’s history everybody knows, so why do Some think they’re going to be the ones to break the cycle?

  2. They could pay me a half gigabux and I’ll get them some better results Relatively.

    First I’d hire somebody to find out which congress critters and which Pentagoons are taking bribes. And go from there. Maybe instead just wait for the bribe patrol to come to me. Nothing like a few hundred million laying around unattended or slightly attended, to bring the vultures.

    Disclaimer, no Vultures, snakes, rats, jackals or cockroaches of the real variety were harmed in the making of this snark. And the figurative self-made vultures, snakes, rats, jackals, cockroaches and bastards don’t have any real feelings to hurt anyway.

Comments are closed.