Pentagon’s failure to monitor truck contract caused costs to double

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AP AFGHANISTAN I AFG

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense’s failure to correct a contractor’s inability to maintain army vehicles led the cost of the contract to more than double, according to an inspector general’s report.

The report, released Thursday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said the Pentagon hired Afghanistan Integrated Support Services (AISS) to maintain Afghan National Army vehicles and train Afghan soldiers to maintain them, but the company did not live up to the terms of the contract.

The contractor’s failure and contract modifications drove the cost from $182 million to the $423 million, said the report by the group also known as SIGAR. The changes will cost more than $1 billion over the next five years.

“Committing more funds without performing an analysis to identify the deficiencies … would not only be imprudent, but it would likely contribute to further waste,” the SIGAR report said.

AISS was cited 113 times for failing to fulfill contract requirements, and received several threats from the Pentagon that it could lose the contract. But the Pentagon never acted on its threats, the report said.

The Pentagon also did not seek repayment from AISS for inadequate or nonexistent service, the report said, although it had multiple chances to do so.

Not only that, but the Pentagon compensated AISS for repairs based on the total number of vehicles in the Afghan army’s fleet, instead of the number of vehicles that were actually repaired.

AISS also repaired fewer vehicles over the course of contract, from 3,071 in the second quarter of 2012 to 82 in the third quarter of 2015. That meant there were fewer vehicles available for the Army to execute military operations.

If the contractor’s problems aren’t fixed, the report said, it could hurt the Afghan army’s ability to move soldiers around the country to fight the Taliban insurgents.

The Pentagon needs to review the contractor better, the report said, and should create specific milestones for the contractor to meet as it faces the challenges in helping the Afghan military maintain vehicles in a challenging environment.

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