43% of Afghan Military's Weapons Unaccounted For
July 29, 2014
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com & The Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction & Perry Chiaramonte / Fox News
The Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction has issued another damning report on the enormous waste and lack of oversight in Afghanistan, this time focusing on 474,823 guns provided to the Afghan military by the Pentagon. The report also identifies potentially billions of dollars wasted -- on planes the local government doesn't need or can't use; on weapons that disappear as soon as they're handed over; and on the construction of brand-new buildings that are basically firetraps.
43% of Afghan Military’s Weapons Unaccounted For
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com
( July 28, 2014) -- The Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has issued yet another damning report on the enormous levels of waste and lack of oversight in Afghanistan, this time focusing on 474,823 guns provided to the Afghan military by the Pentagon.
We’d known for awhile that a lot of Afghan recruits who sign up and leave after their first paycheck routinely took their guns with them, but never knew the extent. According to the report, 43% of the total serial numbers recorded had missing information and were not properly accounted for.
The Pentagon’s record-keeping system is also flawed in other ways, with some 22,806 serial numbers repeated multiple times, meaning the same gun was reported shipped or delivered many times. 59,938 had no record of ever being shipped or received.
SIGAR noted this only covers the Afghan Army, and not the national police. The news is even worse for them, as there is essentially no record-keeping there, being a hodge-podge of handwritten records by a few officials, with no audit even possible.
Afghan National Security Forces: Actions
Needed to Improve Weapons Accountability
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
WHAT SIGAR FOUND
The US Department of Defense (DOD) maintains information on weapons purchased for the ANSF in two primary Information systems: the Security Cooperation Information Portal (SCIP) and the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database (OVERLORD). SCIP is used by DOD personnel to track the shipment of weapons from the United States, while OVERLORD is used for tracking the receipt of weapons in Afghanistan.
Errors and discrepancies often occur because these two systems are not linked to each other and require manual data entry.
When SIGAR compared the data in the two systems, it found that the databases did not always match; some records were duplicated, and some records were incomplete.
The discrepancies listed below show examples of where DOD was not in compliance with its internal operating procedures and accountability requirements, and where missing information could result in the inability to locate weapons. Specifically, SIGAR found that:
• Of the 474,823 total serial numbers recorded in OVERLORD, 43 percent, or 203,888 weapons, had missing information and/or duplication.
• 24,520 serial numbers in OVERLORD and 22,806 weapon serial numbers in SCIP were repeated two or three times, meaning that there are duplicate records of weapons shipped and received.
• OVERLORD contained 50,304 serial numbers with no shipping or receiving dates, and SCIP contained 59,938 serial numbers with no shipping or receiving dates.
While DOD uses SCIP and OVERLORD to account for weapons it purchases and transfers to the ANSF, the Afghan National Army (ANA) tracks weapons using an automated inventory management system called Core Inventory Management System (CoreIMS). However, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) Security Assistance Office (SAO) officials stated that the information contained in CoreIMS is incomplete and cannot be relied upon for accurate information. CSTC-A SAO officials concluded that this is due, in part, to the ANA not entering information correctly into the system.
A 2008 report by the DOD Inspector General also raised concerns about the ANA’s record keeping process including CoreIMS. As for weapons provided to the Afghan National Police (ANP), there is no standardized or automated system to account for them. Instead, the ANP uses a combination of hard copy documents, handwritten records, and some Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to maintain inventory records.
To test the accuracy of weapons data in the various inventory systems and hard copy sources used by the ANSF, SIGAR conducted physical inventory testing at four ANSF depots and storage facilities in Afghanistan. Although testing at these locations was challenging for a variety of reasons, including the lack of inventory information, SIGAR was able to assess, to some degree, the reliability of information maintained at these sites.
• At the ANA Central Supply Depot, SIGAR found that 551 weapons documented on the Afghan inventory record, called a “property book,” did not match a physical count of the inventory.
• At the ANP 22 Bunkers Depot -- the national depot for the ANP—SIGAR was unable to conduct a fully inclusive inventory test; however, SIGAR’s limited testing verified the quantities of weapons in each storage container, and SIGAR did not find discrepancies in the weapons it was able to inspect.
• At the ANA Kandahar Regional Military Training Center, SIGAR was unable to obtain a complete inventory record, which limits the assurance of accurate and reliable weapons accountability.
• At the 1st Afghan National Civil Order Police Garrison Facility, SIGAR could only conduct a limited physical inspection of the inventory because no inventory list was available. No discrepancies were noted in the limited weapons inspection.
This poor record keeping by the ANA and ANP limits DOD’s ability to monitor weapons after transfer to the ANSF, as required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.
The US and coalition partners provide weapons to the ANSF according to the quantity and type agreed upon in the Tashkil -- the Afghan government’s official list of requirements for the ANSF. The Tashkil has changed over time, with some weapons requirements increasing and others decreasing. SIGAR found that, as of November 2013, more than 112,000 weapons provided to the ANA and ANP exceed requirements in the current Tashkil. In some cases, excess weapons were provided because ANSF requirements changed. For example, the ANA has 83,184 more AK-47s than needed because, prior to 2010, DOD issued both
NATO-standard weapons, such as M-16s, and non-standard weapons, such as AK-47s. After 2010, DOD and the Afghan Ministry of Defense determined that interoperability and logistics would be enhanced if the ANA used only NATO standard weapons.
Subsequently, the requirement was changed. However, no provision was made to return or destroy non-standard weapons, such as AK-47s, that were no longer needed. DOD officials told SIGAR that they do not currently have the authority to recapture or remove weapons that have already been provided to the ANSF.
WHAT SIGAR RECOMMENDS
To account for weapons procured for and transferred to the ANSF, SIGAR recommends that the Commanding General, CSTC–A, in coordination with the Director, DSCA,
(1) perform a full reconciliation of OVERLORD and SCIP and correct any data errors identified between the two systems within 6 months. SIGAR also recommends that the Commanding General, CSTC-A
(2) work with the ANSF to complete a 100 percent inventory check of small arms transferred to the ANSF, and
(3) determine what action can be taken to either recover or destroy US and coalition-provided weapons that the US and Afghan governments jointly identified as being in excess of the current Afghan requirements as stated in the Afghan Tashkil, and develop a plan that addresses the potential future excess of small arms if the ANSF force strength is reduced.
In commenting on a draft of the report, DOD concurred with SIGAR’s first recommendation and partially concurred with the second and third recommendations. DOD’s proposed actions are responsive to SIGAR’s recommendations. DOD’s comments, along with SIGAR’s response, are reproduced in appendix II of this report
For more information, contact SIGAR Public Affairs at (703) 545-5974 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
War on Waste: Pentagon Auditor Spotlights
US Billions Blown in Afghanistan
Perry Chiaramonte / Fox News.com
(July 28, 2014) -- Another day, another report of rampant waste of U.S. taxpayer money in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan.
John Sopko, the inspector general charged with monitoring aid sent by the US to Afghanistan, has identified potentially billions of dollars wasted in Afghanistan, including donation of planes the local government doesn't need or can't use, weapons that disappear as soon as they're handed over and and construction of brand new buildings that are basically firetraps.
In a steady stream of audit reports, Sopko's office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, has spotlighted seemingly endless waste in the war-torn nation.
In recent days, Sopko's team has reported:
- Afghanistan probably can't even use two $40.5 million C-130 transport planes the U.S. government plans to give to its motley air force.
"Too often we've pushed taxpayer money out the door without considering if the Afghans need it and can sustain it."
- John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction
- Some 285 buildings, including barracks, medical clinics and even fire stations built by the Army are lined with substandard spray insulation so prone to ignition that they don't meet international building codes.
- The Pentagon has little oversight over hundreds of thousands of small arms turned over to the Afghan army, and many have disappeared altogether.
In addition to the recent flurry of reports, SIGAR has criticized the spending of $34 million to build Camp Leatherneck in the Washir District of Afghanistan, a 64,000-square-foot facility that was never used and sits empty to this day. Another $34 million of U.S. taxpayer money was wasted on a disastrous soybean program that Afghan farmers have rejected.
In October, the U.S.-funded construction of Gardez Hospital, in Afghanistan's southeastern Paktia Province, was found to be delayed for two years due to poor contractor work and overpayment for services never rendered. And in December, an audit discovered that that $5.4 million was wasted in construction at Forward Operating Base Sharana on inoperable incinerators, leaving U.S. soldiers to burn waste and noxious materials in open pits.
The Afghanistan reconstruction budget is separate from the estimated $105 billion annually the U.S. spent at the peak of the 13-year war. Since 2002, Congress has appropriated approximately $103 billion to help rebuild Afghanistan, and the SIGAR's office has said that since March of this year, $17.9 billion of that remains to be doled out.
It’s not clear how much of the reconstruction aid is considered to have been wasted, but SIGAR officials say that during 2012, Sopko’s first year on the job, the general inspected projects, programs, and general issues that totaled $10.6 billion in funding and found nearly $7 billion was potentially wasted.
Critics say the real problem is the policy behind the reconstruction effort.
"It was the subsequent approach [after military action] that has proved so problematic," said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap, now the executive director for the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security for Duke University.
"Essentially, it was thought that the best way to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a sanctuary for terrorists was to transform what is an ancient and xenophobic society into a pluralistic democracy congenial to Western sensibilities, and hostile to extremists who sourced their ideology in religious belief."
Asking the military to use taxpayer funds to transform Afghanistan, especially with an impatient U.S. public calling for full withdrawal,was a "virtually impossible task," Dunlap said.
Sopko is not shy about lacing his numbers-heavy audits with pointed criticism and recommendations. In his report earlier this month on turning over two C-130 Hercules transport planes, he methodically noted that the Afghan air force had already proven unable to adequately maintain a pair it previously received.
"Action taken now could save substantial expenditures," he wrote. "The opportunity exists with the C-130s to ensure that the Afghans are capable of supporting what we have already given them before providing additional aircraft."
Experts including Mark Jacobson, a fellow with the Truman National Security Project who also served on NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, say Sopko gets it.
"The challenge is this; we’re unsure what the political level in Afghanistan is going to be," Jacobson told FoxNews.com. "Training the maintenance and US support will be needed to operate the aircraft. If those things aren’t there then it’s going to be a complicated issue."
Contacted by FoxNews.com, Sopko said he is fighting a culture in which neither Afghanistan's nor America's interests are well served.
"Too often we've pushed taxpayer money out the door without considering if the Afghans need it and can sustain it," Sopko said. "We have a golden opportunity now to stop and reassess this purchase to ensure that taxpayers' funds are spent wisely."
Sopko, like other inspectors general, enjoys broad autonomy to audit government operations to ensure compliance and guard against misconduct, waste, fraud and theft. His reports are public, and are filed with top Pentagon officials, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
In a report just days after the one criticizing the plane deal, Sopko, who works out of a government office in Arlington, Va., found that a large number of buildings provided through a $1.57 billion US Army Corps of Engineers program were death traps.
He sharply challenged the Army Corps of Engineers' rationalization that the buildings were safe enough, because "the typical occupant populations for these facilities are young, fit Afghan Soldiers and recruits who have the physical ability to make a hasty retreat during a developing situation."
On Monday, yet another report for Sopko's office questioned the accountability of nearly a half-million weapons supplied to Afghan National Security Forces by the U.S. It found poor record-keeping, security and inventory of guns. Not surprisingly, thousands of weapons were found to be missing during inventory inspections at supply depots.
"This audit reveals a stunning lack of accountability over combat weapons provided to Afghan security forces," Sopko told FoxNews.com. "It also reveals that the Pentagon continues to send weapons -- even though the Afghans have 100,000 more than they need. We're very concerned that weapons paid for by US taxpayers could wind up in the hands of insurgents and be used to kill Americans and Afghan troops and civilians."
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