DoD Spent $94 Million On The Wrong Type Of Camouflage For Afghan Troops

news
An Afghan National Army noncomissioned officer instructs his soldier to move during a clearance training drill at the Regional Military Training Center in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, March 8, 2017.
NATO photo by Kay M. Nissen

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.

Related: The Coalition’s Plan To Keep US Weapons Out Of ISIS Hands Is Garbage »

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:

Image via SIGAR

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.

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Air Force officer passes in front of a MQ-9 Reaper drone, one of a squadron that has arrived to step up the fight against the Taliban, at the Kandahar air base, Afghanistan January 23, 2018. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. military MQ-9 drone was shot down in Yemen's Dhamar governate, southeast of the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

A Houthi military spokesman had earlier said that air defenses had brought down a U.S. drone.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the drone was shot down late on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Photo: U.S. Army Courtesy photo

Fort Hood's Air Assault School was renamed after Command Sgt. Maj. Basil L. Plumley on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
An E-2D Hawkeye assigned to the Bluetails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 lands on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Will Hardy)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

While attempting to land on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea earlier this month, an E-2D Hawkeye propeller aircraft struck two F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft and sent debris flying into two other F/A-18s on the flight deck, according to the Naval Safety Center.

Read More Show Less

Nobody can be told what The Matrix is; you have to see it for yourself.

More than two decades after The Matrix showed the world what the future of the sci-fi action flick could look like, Warner Bros. Pictures plans on producing a fourth installment of the groundbreaking epic saga, Variety first reported on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Sailors from Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 1 conduct category III qualifications on the M2A1 heavy machine gun at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. CRS-1 is qualifying for future mobilization requirements. (U.S. Navy/Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Kenji Shiroma)

The Navy is considering giving Ma Deuce a quiet new update.

Read More Show Less