A criminal investigation has been opened into why the U.S. Department of Defense allegedly spent $28 million on uniforms for the Afghan Army that were printed in a “forest” camouflage that likely would only be suited for environments in a very small percentage of the countryside there.
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko said Tuesday he is also going to call for a review of “all organizational clothing and individual equipment contracts in the country after the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan approved purchases of proprietary camouflage clothing that were ill-suited to the terrain while free Defense Department-owned patterns were available.”
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently criticized the wasteful spending in a Pentagon memo.
“These problems are serious,” Sopko said, according the Washington Examiner. “They are so serious that we started a criminal investigation related to the procurement of the ANA [Afghan National Army] uniforms.”
Sopko testified before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee this week and said there has been $28 million in additional uniforms costs since 2008, as command “appeared to have limited the Afghan National Army’s choices of camouflage to a single Canadian company, HyperStealth,” the Examiner reported.
“Basically, the only options we gave the Minister of Defense were the proprietary patterns. The bigger problem is no one ever did an assessment of what kind of camouflage is best in Afghanistan. That option was never provided,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Defense has spent approximately $94 million from 2008 to January of this year to purchase 1.3 million uniforms and more than 88,000 extra pairs of pants for the ANA that used the proprietary camo pattern.