U.S. Wastes Millions On Base In Afghanistan It Will Never Use

Hayes Brown, “U.S. Wastes Millions On Base In Afghanistan It Will Never Use“, ThinkProgress, Jul 10 2013

The United States military spent millions of dollars on a shining new command center in the Helmand province of Afghanistan — a center that will never be used and is now likely to be completely demolished.

A new letter out on Wednesday from the Special Inspector-General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) criticizes the construction of the $34 million base, which appears to be the result of an extremely expensive lack of communication within the Department of Defense. According to the letter, a senior military official told SIGAR’s John Sopko that the facility was designed for a military division that never deployed and “subsequently, a decision was made not to construct the facility, but inexplicably the building construction started and is now complete.”

Spreading out over 64,000 square feet, the building was designed for maximum of 1,500 staff, and includes a war room, briefing theatre, and offices for senior military officers including a three-star general. Unfortunately, by the time the project was nearly completed, the surge of Marines in the south of Afghanistan that convinced Pentagon officials that such a command center would be needed dropped from 20,000 to around 7,000. Today, only 450 people may be able to use the building, which Sopko warns would result in “excessive operation and maintenance costs because the cooling systems would be underutilized.” So at present, the building instead stands empty and unused. …

Military officials told Sopko that the command center is an “example of what is wrong with military construction in general —once a project is started, it is very difficult to stop.” The Washington Post also highlighted similar projects, including a $45 million facility to repair armored vehicles that is now being used solely to sort through equipment being shipped out of the country, and $80 million spent on a State Department consulate building that was then abandoned as too vulnerable to attacks.

Read the full article here.