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11 Jun, 2009 03:49

Waste, fraud and abuse in U.S. wars – report

The US Defense Department has failed to adequately manage tens of billions of dollars in contracts paid mainly to private companies supporting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's according to a report by the Congressional Commission on Wartime Contracting.
The U.S. government has pumped up to $830 billion into the two wars. And according to the 111-page report, much of these funds have been and continue to be susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse.

The report pointed out that more than $13 billion in spending had been questioned by the federal auditors in terms of bad planning and monitoring.

Among the many mistakes cited is the building of a brand new $30 million dining hall in Iraq, constructed just one year before troops are to withdraw from the country. Another is a multimillion dollar unfinished housing project in Afghanistan.

The report said that many of the 240,000 people employed on government contracts were not properly trained. However, their number exceeded the number of U.S. troops in both war theatres.

The report blamed the situation on a government failure to "provide enough staff to perform adequate contract oversight."

The report’s authors urged the authorities to tighten up the monitoring of contract spending, reminding them that it is the taxpayers who pick up the bill in the end.

Subcommittee chairman John Tierney said Washington should “look at mistakes of hurried contracting in Iraq” and make sure they are not repeated in Afghanistan.