Report: DOD spends $150 million on private housing, security

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Story highlights

  • Watchdog report says Defense Department spent $150 million on private security and housing for U.S. employees
  • The same task force spent $43 million on a compressed natural gas filling station

Washington (CNN)A letter published by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says the same task force that spent nearly $43 million on building a gas filling station in Afghanistan also spent more than $150 million on private security and housing for U.S. government employees.

The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, which was created by the Department of Defense and directed toward reviving Afghanistan's economy in 2009, was disbanded in March.
The letter, addressed to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, details the services provided by private contractors in Afghanistan to TFBSO employees and guests, including privately owned villas, 24-hour security and food services. The expenses reportedly could have been avoided by placing employees in already existing DOD facilities, where "housing, security, and food service are routinely provided at little or no extra charge to DOD organizations." It also cost American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
    Contracts reviewed by SIGAR showed that private contractor Triple Canopy received more than $57 million from TFBSO for "armed support," which included "queen size beds in certain rooms, a flat screen TV in each room that was 27 inches or larger, a DVD player in each room, a mini refrigerator in each room, and an 'investor villa' that had 'upgraded furniture' and 'western-style hotel accommodations.'"
    TFBSO allegations have been an ongoing problem for SIGAR. An audit conducted in April of America's $488 million investment to develop Afghanistan's mining, oil and gas industries found that the almost $300 million invested by TFBSO lacks sustainability. In addition, a United States Agency for International Development official said it would take "a hundred years to build the necessary infrastructure and fulfill training requirements to completely develop Afghanistan's extractive industries."
    "We've had more allegations about TFBSO than any other program or project in Afghanistan," Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko said. "In order to protect the American taxpayers' dollars, DOD must fully cooperate with SIGAR's oversight work, and government officials who waste taxpayer funds must be held accountable."