A checkup by a Senate subcommittee of how well government agencies are eliminating wasteful spending in Afghanistan turns into some close questioning of a prime example. Senator McCaskill’s Wartime Contracting Reforms law is about a year old. Unfortunately, she says, it applies only the projects going forward, not problems now in Afghanistan. One problem is a $34-million, 64,000 square foot military headquarters built after the military said it was not wanted. McCaskill says all indications now point to it being torn down. “We can’t even give it away to the Afghanistan government…because they don’t want a building (on which) they will have to spend millions to rewire because it was built to U.S. electrical codes,” she says.
A top defense department official says he has no explanation. But he says an Army investigation will be finished in 30-60 days. McCaskill wants the report to name the official who gave the go-ahead for the project.
McCaskill also questions the effectiveness of the Agency for International Development’s efforts to get Afghan farmers to stop growing poppies that are turned into heroin are worth the money being spent. She has asked a director the the AID when it’s time to throw in the towel. He says he’ll have to gather information and get back to her.
Although she’s critical of some programs, McCaskill says the Departments of Defense and State, and the U.S. AID program are making strong progress.