Nothing Left to Cut: DOD Only Used 59 Percent of "Commander's Emergency" Appropriations in Last Five Years, Left $156.5 Million Unspent, Asking for $60 Million Next Year, Inspector General for Afghanistan Spending Says

Winding down the war but trying to spend more


they're gonna try throwing more money at it, they promise

The Defense Department's special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction (SIGAR) released two more items today on wasteful U.S. spending in Afghanistan; a teaching facility USAID has awarded about $3 million in contracts to an Iraqi and multiple Afghan firms to build and repair that remains unusable according to a new report (pdf), and a "Commander's Emergency Response Program" (CERP) for which Congress appropriated money that was left unspent.

The inspector general says only $43.5 million out of $200 million that expired in September was spent, and that over the last six fiscal years, only 59 percent of allocated funds were used. In a letter to the ISAF commander, the DOD comptroller, and the secretary of the army, the inspector general asks whether the unspent money was "reprogrammed for other purposes or returned to the U.S. Treasury," as well as why the department requested $60 million for the 2014 fiscal year. Congress "only" appropriated $30 million, spending more money where it's already spent money that hasn't been spent yet. The letter also asks why the money wasn't spent through the program for which it was allocated, and suggest some answers:

 "There are likely many reasons why these funds were not used. For example, the accelerated U.S. troop drawdown may have reduced the need for these funds, or military commanders may have reduced the cost of various projects through effective oversight. Another factor may have been the overarching challenge of budgeting for small-scale reconstruction projects in an unpredictable conflict zone plagued by violence, corruption, and sustainability challenges"

Read the rest of the letter here.

More Reason on Afghanistan here.