Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Would Anyone Question Pink Uniforms for the Afghan Military?

You have probably heard the news that broke last week concerning the Pentagon's waste of $28 million buying uniforms for the Afghan National Army with a woodland camouflage pattern appropriate for two percent of the country.

The Afghan Defense Minister picked the pricey, privately owned "forest" pattern over the free camouflage schemes owned by the U.S. Government because he liked the design and color. The Inspector General mused that what if he had liked pink or purple? Would the Pentagon have bought them pink uniforms without asking any questions?
This is simply stupid on its face. We wasted $28 million of taxpayers money in the name of fashion because the defense minister thought that the pattern was pretty. So if he thought pink or chartreuse was it, would we have done that?
Of course, Congress jumped all over the inspector general's report. Sen Grassley stated that
"... the Defense Department gave up control of the purchase and spend an extra $28 million on the wrong pattern just because someone in Afghanistan liked it. It's embarrassing and an affront to U.S. taxpayers. Those who wasted money on the wrong camouflage uniforms seem to have lost sight of their common sense.
The Secretary of Defense came down strong on the lack of stewardship by military procurement.
 Buying uniforms for our Afghan partners, and doing so in a way that may have wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars over a ten-year period, must not be seen as inconsequential in the grand scheme of the Department's responsibilities and budget. To the contrary, these actions connect directly to our mission budget situation. The purpose of equipping the Afghan National Army is to bolster the Afghan Government's capacity to provide for its own security, and ultimately, to help defend our country from terrorist attack.
The ... report ... serves as an example of a complacent mode of thinking. The report is an indication of a frame of mind - an attitude that can affect any of us at the Pentagon or across the Department of Defense - showing how those of us entrusted with supporting and equipping troops on the battlefield, if we let down our guard, can lose focus on ensuring their safety and lethality against the enemy.
As is often the case with these kinds of reports, we will probably be hearing about more examples of waste and abuse once Congress has a chance to schedule hearings.

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