One of the great stories from our battalion’s time in Iraq was when we were tasked to provide security for the major gas station along Highway 1 coming out of Baghdad that was right in our sector.
I tasked one of my radar section chiefs, SSG Jimmy Compton to “go fix it.” Next thing I know, he wasn’t just securing the site with his team, he became the go-to expert on running gas stations all throughout our area of operations. He became affectionately known as “Captain Jimmy” and not only were the gas stations secured, they were functioning at an incredible tempo and the corruption was eliminated. Man, looks like the U.S. Army could use ol’ Captain Jimmy, who by the way, resides right here in Ft. Worth, Texas.
As reported by Fox News, “It might be the world’s most expensive gas station — not to mention a gross misuse of taxpayer money, according to a top government watchdog.The Department of Defense spent $43 million to build a gas station in Afghanistan that should have cost roughly $500,000, the lead oversight team monitoring U.S. spending in Afghanistan has found. The discovery came as part of a broader investigation into allegations of criminal activity within the DOD’s premiere program to kick-start the Afghan economy.
“It’s fright-night at the Pentagon,” John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR), told FoxNews.com, calling the spending “outrageous to the taxpayer.”
At issue is spending by the Task Force for Stability and Business Operations, known as TFBSO or the Task Force, which ended in March 2015. But most alarming, according to Sopko, is the DOD’s failure to answer questions about the $800 million program and its claim the Task Force’s employees no longer work for the DOD.“I have never in my lifetime seen the Department of Defense or any government agency clam up and claim they don’t know anything about a program,” said Sopko, a former federal prosecutor appointed by President Obama in 2012 to watch over spending in Afghanistan.”Who’s in charge? Why won’t they talk?” he said. “We have received more allegations about this program than we have received about any other program in Afghanistan.”
Can you imagine what we could do with $43 million dollars for our men and women in uniform? Here we’re talking about cutting 40,000 active duty Soldiers from our force and the Pentagon just blew a cool $43 million. Who’s in charge at the Pentagon? Who will be held responsible for this, and how does this money get repaid to the American taxpayer? Clearly there’s no one manning the helm, and when was the last time the SecDef sat down and reviewed the spending and acquisition programs and process in the DoD? There should be some warning signs on any DoD spending over a certain amount and it must be made known to the SecDef.Remember the words of the commander in chief that we would begin to “nation build at home?” Well, how can this be happening?
Now, my question is simple, will this be a lead story by the mainstream liberal progressive media? Because you can be sure f this were a GOP presidential administration it would be front page New York Times and on every single alphabet soup news outlets non-stop.
This is what happens when you have a president who vetoes the National Defense Authorization Act. There are no restraints and constraints focused on the DoD. Let’s remember that defense discretionary spending is only about 17 percent of our budget and less than 4 percent of our GDP. The problem is that the DoD wastes money on programs like this — and no one goes to jail.
As well, the DoD allows for massive cost overruns for new weapons systems and doesn’t hold the defense contractor responsible — a policy that is in dire need of changing. The acquisition system of our DoD is severely broken and needs to be reformed — perhaps these defense contractors need purchase insurance for when they have cost overruns so they pay, not the taxpayer.
Remember the fate of Extortion 17? Here’s a link to remind you. Understand that those elite SEAL Team Six special operators were not loaded onto a MH-47 special operations-equipped Chinook helicopter. So someone needs to explain why our military operates without the proper equipment while someone is blowing $43 million on a doggone gas station in Afghanistan!
“In a report released Monday, SIGAR detailed how TFBSO’s Downstream Gas Utilization Project set out to build a compressed natural gas (CNG) filling station in the Afghan city of Sheberghan in 2011. The Task Force struck a contract with Central Asian Engineering, which received just under $3 million from the U.S. government to construct the Sheberghan gas station. Sopko noted the cost of building a similar gas station in neighboring Pakistan is no more than $500,000. The Task Force spent $42,718,739 between 2011 and 2014 to “fund the construction and to supervise the initial operation of the CNG station,” the U.S. military told SIGAR — with “approximately $12.3 million in direct costs and $30 million in overhead costs.”
Imagine this, we have an export ban on our oil and natural gas, but the Obama administration DoD just spent $43 million for a compressed natural gas station in Afghanistan. Is this a seriously upside-down world or what?
Just like everything else, no one will be held responsible and they will all claim the 5th. The hard working American taxpayer is out $43 million and no one at the Pentagon gives a damn because they know nothing will happen. Heck, chances are the money went to pay for Afghan police chiefs who are molesting young boys — or some other corrupt practice. I have an idea, get my old Soldier, Jimmy Compton to run the show in Afghanistan. He’ll get results and it sure as heck won’t cost $43 million.