Mat­tis bris­tles at waste of $28m on uni­forms

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

WASHINGTON — US De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis scolded the Pen­tagon bu­reau­cracy for “cav­a­lier” use of tax­payer dol­lars, cit­ing an episode of waste­ful spend­ing on pri­vate­la­bel uni­forms for the Afghan mil­i­tary that has caught the at­ten­tion of Congress.

In a memo ob­tained on Mon­day by The As­so­ci­ated Press, Mat­tis pointed to a June re­port by the US spe­cial in­spec­tor gen­eral for Afghanistan that said the Pen­tagon had spent as much as $28 mil­lion more than nec­es­sary over 10 years on uni­forms for Afghan sol­diers with a cam­ou­flage “for­est” pat­tern that may be in­ap­pro­pri­ate for the largely desert bat­tle­field.

The uni­form pat­tern was se­lected without eval­u­at­ing its ef­fec­tive­ness when only 2.1 per­cent of Afghanistan is cov­ered by forests, the US gov­ern­ment’s top watch­dog on Afghanistan said in a re­port last month.

The Afghan min­is­ter of de­fense at the time “liked the wood­land, ur­ban and tem­per­ate pat­terns,” the re­port by the Spe­cial In­spec­tor Gen­eral for Afghanistan Re­con­struc­tion said.

The uni­form episode is to be a fo­cus of a House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee hear­ing on Tues­day. Mat­tis said it is em­blem­atic of an at­ti­tude in the Pen­tagon that al­lows poor spend­ing de­ci­sions to be ex­cused, over­looked or min­i­mized.

In his July 21 memo to three of the Pen­tagon’s most se­nior of­fi­cials over­see­ing re­sources for the war in Afghanistan, Mat­tis said the waste­ful spend­ing on uni­forms is an ex­am­ple of “cav­a­lier or ca­su­ally ac­qui­es­cent de­ci­sions” that un­der­mine the mis­sion in Afghanistan and un­der­cut pub­lic trust.

“In my view, the key find­ing of the ... re­port is not just that it ex­poses waste, or that it cap­tures how funds are di­verted away from other mis­sion pri­or­i­ties, but rather that it serves as an ex­am­ple of a com­pla­cent mode of think­ing,” Mat­tis said.

“I ex­pect all (De­fense De­part­ment) or­ga­ni­za­tions to use this er­ror as a cat­a­lyst to bring to light waste­ful prac­tices — and take ag­gres­sive steps to end waste in our de­part­ment.”

(The waste­ful spend­ing on uni­forms is an ex­am­ple of ) cav­a­lier or ca­su­ally ac­qui­es­cent de­ci­sions.” Jim Mat­tis, US de­fense sec­re­tary

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.