Inexcusable Posted by: McQ
on Wednesday, January 31, 2007
According to BusinessWeek, the Inspector General (IG) for the Defense Department has found some persistent, and frankly, inexcusable problems:
The Inspector General for the Defense Dept. is concerned that the U.S. military has failed to adequately equip soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially for nontraditional duties such as training Iraqi security forces and handling detainees, according to a summary of a new audit obtained by BusinessWeek.
The findings come as the Pentagon prepares to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq and as Democratic leaders levy threats to restrict funding for a war that's already cost about $500 billion. The Army alone expects to spend an extra $70 billion on an additional 65,000 permanent troops from fiscal year 2009 through 2013. According to Army officials, $18 billion of that will be spent on equipment. Soldiers Poorly Equipped
The Inspector General found that the Pentagon hasn't been able to properly equip the soldiers it already has. Many have gone without enough guns, ammunition, and other necessary supplies to "effectively complete their missions" and have had to cancel or postpone some assignments while waiting for the proper gear, according to the report from auditors with the Defense Dept. Inspector General's office. Soldiers have also found themselves short on body armor, armored vehicles, and communications equipment, among other things, auditors found.
"As a result, service members performed missions without the proper equipment, used informal procedures to obtain equipment and sustainment support, and canceled or postponed missions while waiting to receive equipment," reads the executive summary dated Jan. 25. Service members often borrowed or traded with each other to get the needed supplies, according to the summary.
There is absolutely no excuse for this ... none. They've been in theater for almost 4 years, the requirements for equipment and sustainment are well known and the defense acquisition system has had more than enough time and money to respond.
So why is this still a problem? Says the IG:
In the summary of the Inspector General's audit, the equipment shortages were attributed to basic management failures among military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. Central Command lacked standard policies for requesting and tracking equipment requirements or for equipping units to perform nontraditional duties. Auditors surveyed 1,100 service members stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan from all four military branches, the National Guard, and Reserves.
Another reason to be glad about the change in command. GEN Petraeus and ADM. Fallon have a lot to fix in this realm before they can really get to work on the new mission.
Jethro, what makes you think General du Jour is going to make any difference? He was handpicked by Bush Boy, and competence isn’t high on Bushies checklist. In fact it’s strongly discouraged. Lower down the food chain they’ve also lowered the standards quite a bit and that’s where things really get done.
Sit tight everyone, in a few hundred more days we may get a Competent Administration in place.
Well, I agree that there is no "excuse" for this, but there may be a reason. While serving in the U.S. Army I worked in Supply (now probably known as Procurement or some such). I remember that one bright fellow in the bush was frustrated because when his aircraft made a pass over an enemy position they were moving too fast for him to accurately direct artillery fire (or whatever). He got the bright idea of using a Polaroid and circling while he carefully examined the resulting photo for the telltale signs. He bought the camera used in the tests in the PX while on R&R. He requested that the Army supply all Observers with the cameras. The request was quickly approved. Shipments of cameras began immediately - high priority. Unfortunately, all of the shipments "arrived damaged", went astray, or were sidelined for needed "additional parts" (the film packets mysteriously disappeared). IOW, they were appropriated for personal use by the Supply personnel or sold on the black market for hooch expenses. Not much demand or good prices for C rations (read MRE’s), but Polaroids! Big bucks. Like the guys in the bush needed THEM! An IG interviewing this bright Observer might well find that troops were not getting essential supplies needed for non-traditional missions. If I were sent to investigate these charges, my first step would be to identify the missing equipment and price it on the Iraqi black market. The more things change...
Look on the bright side, at least the troops now get to wear those cool berets, ordered on an emergency basis from China. All they need now is a Gaulois dangling from their lip and they can look oh so continental. I have noticed that the troops now also wear their rank insiginia French style, on the chest. Let us hope our adoption of French military ideas stops at uniform changes.
Seriously, though, these are obviously long standing problems, and I will bet they also exist in the Pacific command, where Fallon came from. I wouldn’t hold my breath, as the saying goes, until these new commanders fix the problems.
part of the problem is trying to fight in 1943 with a 1941 production base....We aren’t fighting WWII true, but neither have we mobilized the production/mobilization base to the extent we did in the 1940’s. I don’t know that is a bad idea... For example do the Marines and Army really want Dingo and Cougar Mine Resistant Vehicles? They may be GREAT for Iraq, but what if Iraq is an outlier? At the end of the day both services have a tremendous stock of vehicles they don’t want/need. And it’s not like we are going to produce Dingo’s AND m-2’s which we might have done in 1943. Plus note it’s for "non-traditional" and "training missions" it’s not saying that my friend the Signal Officer lacks gear, but that the Marine Training Platoon near him might....
U.S. Central Command lacked standard policies ... for equipping units to perform nontraditional duties.
Just a little devils advocate here, but it is the Army’s fault that it doesn’t have standards for things that are non-standard? You can write a SOP for "making stuff the heck up." Am I missing something?
Also while CentCom and the Generals make for good scapegoats, Rumsfeld was pushing a lot of this stuff for quite a while. It was called "walmartizing the supply chain". Walmart cuts costs by making their suppliers stock Walmart’s shelves. Rumsfeld’s idea was to do something similar with military contractors. Have the contractors push their supplies to the troops. The logistics people here hated it because records just stopped after things came off the boat in Kuwait. But in theory it was cheaper and we’ll never actually know if it wasn’t because we’ll never have the records to do an analysis.
And pretty much anything involving Special Ops or short term current operations is given an official "excluded from the formal military acquisition process" stamp. Perfectly legally of course. So trying to place the blame on military acquisition, when they are completely defanged, doesn’t really work.