The United States has spent nearly half a billion dollars and five years developing Afghanistan’s oil, gas and minerals industries — and has little to show for it, a government watchdog reported today.
The Pentagon is scrambling to justify its actions in restricting the government watchdog investigating a $766-million task force in Afghanistan — with more controversy seemingly erupting by the day. Now there are allegations that Defense Department officials retaliated against a whistleblower and news of several ongoing criminal investigations.
The watchdog charged with overseeing U.S. spending in Afghanistan says the Pentagon is dodging his inquiries about an $800 million program that was supposed to energize the Afghan economy. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the military is restricting access to some documents in violation of law and has claimed there are no Defense Department personnel who can answer questions about the Task Force for Business Stability Operations, or TFBSO, which operated for five years.
An investigation released last week into why the U.S. military built a $25-million headquarters in Afghanistan that it never used condemned the behavior of one officer in particular: the top commander‘s lawyer.
The Defense Department's inspector general has drafted a stinging rebuke of the Pentagon's struggling effort to recover the remains of missing service members from past wars, concluding the mission lacks the most elemental building blocks for success.
The Pentagon spends about $100 million annually to recover and identify missing service members from the Vietnam War, Korean War and World War II, but identified just 60 last year — far short of the 200 per year mandated by Congress starting next year. This latest restructuring is the broadest one yet, taking on the science used to make identifications and creating public-private partnerships, but it's unclear whether it will be a reorganization just on paper like it was in the past.
The Pentagon is overhauling its efforts to find and identify missing service members from past wars, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday. The changes address the problems laid out in an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, including outdated scientific methods, overlapping bureaucracy, a risk-averse disinterment policy for the 9,400 unknowns buried around the world, and poor laboratory management that inhibited the mission.