Maj. Gen. Arnold Fields (Ret.)

"There is no plan"

That's how an inspector general describes the $11 billion effort to build facilities for the Afghan army

Justin Elliott
January 27, 2011 1:50AM (UTC)

The United States is at risk of blowing over $11 billion on building facilities for the Afghan military because of waste and poor planning, according to the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction. 

The revelation came in testimony this week before a congressional commission that is looking at U.S. spending in Afghanistan.


According to Arnold Fields, the outgoing special inspector general who has audited various projects in Afghanistan, the money spent on construction of facilities for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) is at risk for three reasons: first, "lack of a comprehensive plan"; second, the projects audited to date are "seriously behind schedule"; and third, "it is not clear how Afghanistan is going to be able to provide the operations and maintenance required to sustain any of these investments without continuing financial support from the United States after the current operations and maintenance contract expires in 2015."

The success of the Afghan military is also crucial, of course, to President Obama's plan to "transition" to Afghan control and bring American troops home.

Fields had a remarkable exchange about all this on Monday with a member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Robert Henke. He says at one point, "there is no plan." Watch:


Perhaps also of note: Congressional Republicans, who say they want to cut $100 billion from the budget, have so far shown little interest in anything but extending the war in Afghanistan. 

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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