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DoD Spent $94 Million On The Wrong Type Of Camouflage For Afghan Troops
Apart from its sprawling arid plains, Afghanistan is home to fertile farmland intersected by irrigation canals, soaring mountains and plunging valleys. But the country is also home to a resurgent Taliban engaged in heated combat with the Afghan National Army, the latter of which has been wearing expensive — and, it turns out, pointless — woodland camouflage uniforms for the last nine years.
Forests account for just 2.1% of Afghanistan’s total land area, according to a newly released report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which makes the ANA’s woodland camo a 98% stupid choice for the campaign against insurgents across the country.
Even worse, the pattern “selected without determining whether it was appropriate to or effective in the Afghan environment,” but the DoD blew approximately $93.81 million on the uniforms — way more than necessary.
“Using a proprietary camouflage pattern and a different uniform style resulted in significantly higher costs—up to 43 percent higher—than other uniforms that DOD procured” for other Afghan commands, according to the report.
The DoD procured the rights to the Spec4ce Forest Uniform camouflage pattern from HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation for the Afghan government, even though there were already had similar patterns available. Here are some of the options already owned by DoD, which could have been used at no additional cost:
For years, the ANA’s conventional soldiers had been donning uniforms nearly identical to the U.S. Army’s Woodland Battle Dress Uniform. In May 2007, someone at the DoD decided that the ANA needed a new look. The replacement process apparently began with a quick perusal of the HyperStealth website and didn’t go much further than that.
Apparently, then-Afghanistan Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak “ran across” HyperStealth’s website and “liked what he saw,” according to the SIGAR report. That quick online search resulted in the purchase of 1,364,602 new uniforms between May 2007 and January 2017.
What’s more, the procurement was made without any formal testing. If the pattern had been field tested, maybe the military would have steered clear of that forest pattern. But apparently “neither the DoD nor the Afghan government could demonstrate the appropriateness of the ANA uniform for the Afghan environment, or show that the new camouflage pattern did not hinder ANA operations by providing a more clearly visible target to the enemy,” according to the report.
“Given our historical and pledged commitments to the ANA, SIGAR estimates that changing the ANA uniform could save U.S. taxpayers between $68.61 million - $72.21 million over the next 10 years,” the report concludes.
While they’re at it, the Afghan military and their American partners might want to consider switching over to a desert pattern. Just a thought.
As the US sends 1,000 more troops to Middle East, the Pentagon is a rudderless ship caught in a storm
The Pentagon is sending nearly 1,000 more troops to the Middle East as part of an escalating crisis with Iran that defense officials are struggling to explain.
While the U.S. government has publicly blamed Iran for recent attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Oman, not a single U.S. official has provided a shred of proof linking Iran to the explosive devices found on the merchant ships.
At an off-camera briefing on Monday, Navy officials acknowledged that nothing in imagery released by the Pentagon shows Iranian Revolutionary Guards planting limpet mines on ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Investigation shows Lt. Col. in charge of Corps' 1st Recon was fired for alleged 'misconduct' but has not been charged
The Marine lieutenant colonel removed from command of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May was ousted over alleged "misconduct" but has not been charged with a crime, Task & Purpose has learned.
Lt. Col. Francisco Zavala, 42, who was removed from his post by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division on May 7, has since been reassigned to the command element of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and a decision on whether he will be charged is "still pending," MEF spokeswoman 1st Lt. Virginia Burger told Task & Purpose last week.
"We are not aware of any ongoing or additional investigations of Lt. Col. Zavala at this time," MEF spokesman 2nd Lt. Brian Tuthill told Task & Purpose on Monday. "The command investigation was closed May 14 and the alleged misconduct concerns Articles 128 and 133 of the UCMJ," Tuthill added, mentioning offenses under military law that deal with assault and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
"There is a period of due process afforded the accused and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty," he said.
When asked for an explanation for the delay, MEF officials directed Task & Purpose to contact 1st Marine Division officials, who did not respond before deadline.
The investigation of Zavala, completed on May 3 and released to Task & Purpose in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that he had allegedly acted inappropriately. The report also confirmed some details of his wife's account of alleged domestic violence that Task & Purpose first reported last month.
A Marine Raider convicted in a North Carolina court of misdemeanor assault for punching his girlfriend won't spend any time in jail unless he violates the terms of his probation, a court official told Task & Purpose.
On Monday, Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans received a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail, said Samantha Dooies, an assistant to the New Hanover County District Attorney.
Evans must complete 18 months of unsupervised probation, pay $8,000 in restitution, complete a domestic violence offenders program, and he cannot have any contact with his former girlfriend, Dooies told Task & Purpose. The special operations Marine is also only allowed to have access to firearms though the military while on base or deployed.