In 2015, the U.S. military budget was around $601 billion, greater than the combined military budgets of the six highest spending nations. Though it is difficult to pinpoint where the money was spent, the following incidents show where some of that money was squandered. Here’s hoping for wiser military investments in 2016.
$43 Million Gas Station
Though building a refueling station in a war zone is undoubtedly a necessary and potentially expensive endeavor, the $43 million spent on a gas station in Afghanistan was enough to raise eyebrows. A comparable project in Pakistan cost $500,000. The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction found the endeavor was originally contracted to spend $3 million, but ultimately spent $12 million in construction costs and over $30 million in “overhead” costs.
Investigators were troubled that the Defense Department was “unable to provide an explanation for the high cost of the project or to answer any other questions concerning its planning, implementation, or outcome.” The Pentagon’s task force that oversaw this project was canceled earlier this year, but questions about this boondoggle remain unanswered.
Half A Billion Dollars For A Handful of Men
The Obama Administration invested $500 million to train rebel Syrian forces, with the goal of yielding 5,000 organized and able fighters. Instead, four or five dedicated soldiers have been trained. A top commander in the U.S. war on ISIS testified that the graduating class was “smaller than expected.”
The program has since been suspended. Focus has been shifted towards supplying military aid to groups already fighting ISIS rather than training rebels.
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