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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

US Blew Millions Shipping Military Trucks: Report

GAO report suggests it would have been cheaper to just blow them up

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 1, 2014 9:39 AM CDT 

Mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles are
loaded onto an airplane to be shipped to war zones on Nov.
28, 2007, at the Charleston Air Force Base in
North Charleston, SC.   (AP Photos/Alice Keeney)

(Newser) – It would've been more financially prudent to blow up now-useless US military vehicles used in Afghanistan instead of what the Pentagon actually did: ship them back home. A GAO report released yesterday and cited in USA Today says that from October 2012 to October 2013, the Army and Marines sent 9,000 vehicles back to the US—at a cost of up to $107,400 per vehicle. But 1,034 of them were either unnecessary for domestic needs or too costly to repair and put back into service. Due to various vehicle sizes and shipping methods, the report gives a huge range for the total cost of shipping those "potentially unneeded items": $5.9 million to $111 million.

The report says the Army and Marines may have flouted Pentagon guidelines that call for all transportation costs to be considered before going on a shipping spree. Another option for unnecessary vehicles like these: Give them to US allies. But an analyst from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments says that could ultimately prove to be an unwise move. "When we leave vehicles with our partners, we run the risk of those vehicles falling into the wrong hands, as they have in Iraq," the analyst told USA Today in an email. 

This isn't the first time the Pentagon has been on the hot seat for mismanaged funds: The military accrued more than $620 million in late fees for not returning on time shipping containers used to send supplies to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Navy Times reported in April.