Report: We've Wasted $30B in Iraq, Afghanistan

Commission offers proposals to improve management of contracts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2011 11:34 AM CDT
Military Contractors: $30B Wasted in Iraq, Afghanistan Contracts, Report Says
Security contractors inspect their armored vehicles after a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, June 6, 2011.   (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The US has basically flushed $30 billion down the toilet, according to a bipartisan commission looking into the money spent on contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan. It found that at least one out of every six dollars spent in the last 10 years has been money wasted. In a report to be submitted to Congress Wednesday, the commission finds that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were begun “without adequate planning or contract-management personnel to handle the enormous scale and numbers of contracts,” write the group’s heads. And just as much money could go to waste all over again if the countries’ governments can't or won't maintain US-funded programs after we leave: The report cites $300 million we spent on a power plant that the Afghan government lacks the funds and expertise to run as an example.

“Poor planning, inadequate competition, lax accountability, and subpar performance, or outright misconduct by some contractors and federal employees” are among the issues the report confronts. And It’s not just money that has been wasted: Poor contract management also hurts “support for military, diplomatic, and development efforts” and helps breed corruption, write Christopher Shays and Michael Thibault in the Washington Post. The commission offers “15 strategic recommendations” to improve the situation, including creating new oversight positions and making better use of risk analysis. Click for more. (More defense contractors stories.)

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