Rebuilding Afghanistan: Oversight of Defense Department Infrastructure Projects

Hearing Date: March 16, 2016 9:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB

TAKEAWAYS:

  • More than 60 percent of the Department of Defense (DOD) reconstruction contracts inspected by the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) between July 2009 and September 2015 did not fully meet contract requirements or technical specifications.
  • One-third of completed reconstruction projects in Afghanistan inspected by SIGAR have never been used.
  • Troop drawdown in Afghanistan limits SIGAR, DOD, and contractors from performing effective oversight. SIGAR John Sopko testified, “we built too much, too fast, with too little oversight” in Afghanistan.
  • Despite spending $8.4 billion on counter-narcotic efforts in Afghanistan, where about 90 percent of non-pharmaceutical opiates are produced, opiate production has increased.

PURPOSE:

  • To examine a new Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report on the Department of Defense’s (DOD) reconstruction projects in Afghanistan and assess its recommendations to improve future projects.
  • To review the effects of troop reductions on DOD’s ability to conduct adequate oversight of U.S.-funded reconstruction in Afghanistan.

BACKGROUND:

  • As of March 31, 2015, approximately $110 billion was appropriated for Afghanistan relief and reconstruction since 2002.
  • Since 2009, SIGAR has issued more than 35 inspection reports examining DOD reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. The most recent report, issued on February 11, 2016, addresses the recently occupied Afghan Ministry of Defense Headquarters.
  • SIGAR’s future ability to provide such oversight is unclear. Due to the drawdown in U.S. troops, “significant portions” of the country “are already inaccessible to SIGAR, other inspectors general, the Government Accountability Office, and other U.S. civilians conducting oversight, such as contracting officers.”

KEY VIDEOS:

Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT): “How much more money does it take from the United States taxpayers—from the men and women who actually do the jobs and make the money and pay their taxes—how much more money do we have to pour into Afghanistan for just the reconstruction?”

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY): “The war on drugs in Afghanistan, to the extent that there is a war on drugs, has been a failure.”

Representative Jody Hice (R-GA): “It’s stunning to me—amazing at least—that we don’t even know what all we’ve built. How can we know what’s occupied if we don’t even know what we’ve built?”

Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
The Honorable John Sopko Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Document
Christine S. Abizaid Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia U.S. Department of Defense Document
Howard Strickley U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Division (TAD) U.S. Department of Defense
Randy Brown Director, Air Force Civil Engineering Center U.S. Department of Defense

Related Documents

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