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Pentagon wasted $65 million on counternarcotics plane that was never used

September 14, 2017

The Pentagon wasted at least $64.8 million on an airplane modification program for counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Department of Defense inspector general.

The money was spent on modifications for the ATR 42-500 aircraft under the Global Discovery Program through the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats (DASD CN&GT).

The aircraft was inoperable for seven years after its purchase and was never used for its intended missions in Afghanistan.

According to the report’s findings, “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.”

According to the report, the office did not:

  • Track funding on the Global Discovery Program;
  • Clearly define requirements and capabilities for the ATR 42-500 aircraft, and still needed to finalize them 3 years into the Global Discovery Program; and,
  • Effectively oversee the Global Discovery Program. Specifically, the DASD CN&GT and ODASD CN&GT personnel changed action officers multiple times; did not maintain complete records, such as documenting decisions on changes to requirements and capabilities; moved the program responsibilities between DoD Components resulting in duplicative efforts; did not define roles and responsibilities for the personnel involved in the program; and did not follow effective contract oversight processes.

After more than seven years, the Global Discovery Program was canceled and DEA personnel reclaimed possession of the ATR 42-500 aircraft.

According to the report: “[Department of Defense] personnel purchased equipment, contracted for modifications to the aircraft, modified the aircraft, subsequently had the modifications removed from the aircraft, and returned the aircraft to its original form, but without the required Federal Aviation Administration flight certification.”

As a result, at least $64.8 million in funds were wasted.