The Pentagon likely spent as much as $28 million more than necessary on camouflage uniforms for the Afghan National Army (ANA) that might not do what they are supposed to do. Further, the report stated, U.S. taxpayers could save between $68.61 and $72.21 million during the next decade by procuring the ANA uniform.
The IG attributed the high cost to the use of a proprietary camouflage pattern, when the Defense Department could have used a cheaper non-proprietary one instead. The report also raised questions about the functionality of the pattern itself.
“Our analysis found that DoD’s [the Defense Department’s] decision to procure ANA uniforms using a proprietary camouflage pattern was not based on an evaluation of its appropriateness for the Afghan environment,” the report stated.
The U.S. government footed the bill for more than 1.3 million such uniforms – consisting of a shirt and pair of pants each – between 2008 and this January. HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation, the contractor, developed a camouflage pattern after the one used in the U.S. Army’s Combat Uniform. Because HyperStealth owned the pattern, the government spent between 40 and 43 percent more than it would have by using a non-proprietary pattern.
Meanwhile, the Afghan army still is required to use the proprietary camouflage pattern, even though there is no evidence to show that it is more effective than the cheaper non-proprietary pattern. The IG report recommends that the Pentagon to explore other options.
“We suggest that a DoD organization with appropriate expertise in military uniforms conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the current ANA uniform specification to determine whether there is a more effective alternative, considering both operational environment and cost, available,” the report stated.
In a written response, Jedidiah Royal, the Defense Department’s civilian chief of operations in Afghanistan and Central Asia, largely agreed with the IG’s findings.
The IG report “reinforces that the Department of Defense mist have the right organizations with the right expertise making critical decisions involving the use of the Afghan Security Forces Fund [ASFF, from which the money to buy the uniforms came] to fulfill the requirements of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces,” Royal wrote.