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Thu, Sep 28, 2017

DOD Inspector General Finds Millions Wasted On Counternarcotics Plane

One Senator Has Called For The Leaders Of The Program To Be Fired

A DOD Inspector General report released Sept. 11 found that the Department of Defense squandered at least $64.8 million on a program to develop an airplane for drug interdiction.

The audit was conducted in response to congressional requests that followed a March 2016 DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) audit report on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) aviation operations with the DoD in Afghanistan. The DOJ OIG audit report included information on the Global Discovery Program, an ATR 42-500 aircraft that was intended to be used for counternarcotics missions in Afghanistan.

According to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats (DASD CN&GT), DoD and DEA personnel began discussions on the Global Discovery Program between 2007 and 2008. The original intent of the Global Discovery Program was to establish data sharing between Government agencies on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan through aviation operations. However, personnel in the Office of the DASD CN&GT (ODASD CN&GT) stated that, over time, the Global Discovery Program referred only to the ATR 42-500 aircraft.

In March 2012, DEA personnel delivered the ATR 42-500 aircraft to the DoD subcontractor’s facility. DOJ OIG auditors stated that, as of March 2017, the ATR 42-500 aircraft was located in Fort Worth, Texas, had not flown any missions, and that DEA personnel plan to put the aircraft up for auction through the General Services Administration in August 2017.

The report concluded that the The DASD CN&GT did not effectively manage the Global Discovery Program for the ATR 42-500 aircraft that was intended to be used for counternarcotics missions in Afghanistan, which significantly contributed to the program’s failure. The IG found that despite the DASD CN&GT knowing in late 2013 that DEA personnel were significantly reducing their presence in Afghanistan in 2014, the DASD CN&GT stated that she decided not to cancel the program because she believed the ATR 42-500 aircraft was near completion. As a result, the DASD CN&GT wasted at least $64.8 million on the Global Discovery Program for modifications on the ATR 42-500 aircraft that DEA personnel never used for missions in Afghanistan.

The Hill reports that Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has called for "heads to roll" in connection with the failure of the program. He wrote a note to Defense Secretary James Mattis saying that if people were not fired over the program, "nothing changes. Common sense dictates that if an admiral can be fired or the captain of a ship can dismissed because their ship rams another (if that action is taken because of dereliction of duty) then these people connected with this failed plane need to be fired,” Grassley wrote.

In a response to the report which is included in the document, the U.S. Central Command said that the "report incorrectly assigns responsibility for the failures" to the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for counternarcotics and global threats. But Grassley said those and other comments from military officials "pass the buck," and that Mattis should make an example of the program as a way to cut waste.

Grassley has called for a DOD review to determine who is responsible for the program's failure. “Once that determination is made, there should be an appropriate measure of accountability, including potential disciplinary action,” he wrote in his note to Sect. Mattis.

(Images from DOD IG Report)

FMI: DOD IG Report, The Hill

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