• U.S. Squandered $14.7 Million On ‘Never Occupied’ Afghan Warehouse

    U.S. military officials let construction of a $14.7 million warehouse in Afghanistan continue after they knew it was no longer needed. Now, the vacant 173,428-square-foot building simply takes up space at the Kandahar Airfield.

    Army officials told Defense Logistics Agency personnel — which was slated to operate the combat support distribution facility — in August 2013 that the U.S. military role would be ending in Afghanistan. Even so, work continued on the facility “uninterrupted,” including $400,000 in unplanned cost increases, until it was completed six months later, according to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

    The facility wasn’t completed until February 2014, two and a half years behind schedule and $1.2 million over budget, due to poor work by the contractor. Had the building been completed on time, DLA personnel could have used it for two years before leaving Afghanistan, the IG said. Instead, the facility was never used.

    “A DLA official said that the U.S. Army initiated the warehouse project and programmed the funds, but DLA could not explain why the project was not terminated, or why the Army did not instruct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the project without making further modifications that would increase the cost of the project,” the IG said.

    Special Inspector General John Sopko wants to know why and he gave the U.S. Central Command and Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan 90 days from the release of the report to find out who allowed the construction to continue, and why.

    U.S. Central Command’s Col. Scott A. Petersen said the Afghanistan commander will “need to investigate further.” But Col. Patrick W. Davis, representing U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, offered “no comment” in his response to the IG.

    Army officials have no use for the facility, so it will likely be transferred to the Afghan government, but that government probably won’t be able to use it either, the IG said, due to lack of resources.

    “Although DLA may have had the need for such systems, other inspections we conducted indicate that the Afghans normally do not have the funds or technical capacity to operate and maintain them,” the IG said. “Consequently, the funds obligated by the contract modifications that followed DLA’s decision to withdraw from KAF are likely to have been wasted.”

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