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Criminal Government Waste? Probe Launched over $28M 'Forest' Uniforms for Afghan Troops

Criminal Government Waste? Probe Launched over $28M 'Forest' Uniforms for Afghan Troops Read Transcript


The US Inspector General has launched

a criminal investigation into wasteful spending

of millions of taxpayer dollars in Afghanistan.

Part of the alleged waste came in the form of pricey forest

camouflage uniforms for Afghan troops who operate

in mostly a desert environment.

CBN's national security correspondent, Erik Rosales,

has been following this ongoing investigation

and brings us the story from Capitol Hill.

People are not being held accountable for wasting money.

ERIK ROSALES: John Sopko, the Special Inspector General

for Afghanistan Reconstruction, told a House Armed Services

Committee he's opened a criminal investigation

after the Pentagon was found to have spent more than $93

million on Afghan uniforms.

Sopko says the forest camouflage pattern

was picked despite the country having very little forests

instead of using the Defense Department's

own patterns for free.

The only options we gave the minister of defense

was the proprietary patterns.

We never showed him this.

The bigger problem is no one ever did

an assessment as to what kind of camouflage

is best in Afghanistan.

ERIK ROSALES: Sopko says it's still too early

to determine in his words if stupidity, corruption,

or a broken system led to the US purchasing

about 1.3 million uniforms in the woodland camouflage

pattern owned by a Canadian company, HyperStealth.

He did warn if the program is not adjusted quickly,

it could cost American taxpayers another $72 million

in unnecessary spending during the next decade.

Even Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis,

weighed in recently condemning the alleged waste

as cavalier spending in a memo, he

sent a top Pentagon officials.

Defense Department officials also testified on the Hill

that they told lawmakers that they're now

going to use the Inspector General's report as a catalyst

to end the aggressive spending in waste.

But right now the only thing that they've done

is start a study of their own.

The report has been out for about a month.

The primary suggestion in the report

was that we determine whether or not

there is a uniform pattern that is more suitable.

ERIK ROSALES: Sopko says the bigger problem

is fixing the way the US government works and spends

money.

It's broken.

I hate to say it.

The system is broken on accountability

because we're not holding people accountable.

Because by the time we get out there,

the money has been spent, and the person who was involved

is either retired are long gone.

Because there's a two year or shorter appropriations

cycle, and everyone's got the incentive to spend money.

ERIK ROSALES: Sopko says military contractors told him

they get rewarded at the end of the year

on how much money they spend and not whether the contract is

good for the country.

Sopko then scolded lawmakers for allowing this to happen.

We have to change that system, and I would highly

recommend take a look at the HR system in the Defense

Department.

Take a look at the procurement system.

Take a look at the incentives that you are allowing to occur,

which create this problem.

Sopko says he's also recommending

a review of all organizational clothing

and individual equipment contracts in Afghanistan.

We'll keep you posted.

Erik Rosales, "CBN News," Washington.

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