In another frustrating example of U.S. government waste, a $14.7 million warehouse built at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan stands empty and unused.
The warehouse was built to be a distribution facility for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The U.S. Army created contract requirements for the facility in 2009 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supported the project, according to a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
Due to construction delays and increased costs, the project was finished in Feb. 2014, a little over three years from the Aug. 2011 deadline the contract stipulated and a year after the decision was made to end the DLA’s mission in Kandahar.
The warehouse, described as “well constructed,” was never occupied or used by the DLA. Aside from some occasional short-term use, such as being used as a temporary storage facility for file cabinets, the facility has remained empty since completion. The U.S. plans on transferring operations and maintenance of the warehouse to the Afghan government in December.
The construction of the warehouse was delayed from the outset, due primarily to the first contractor’s, YDA AFCON, poor performance. The USACE sent 32 letters of complaint to the contractor, eventually terminating the contract in April 2013, but not after paying the company $13.5 million.
The new contractor, Arkel International, was paid $844,526 to complete the project, but after contract modifications, the price rose to $1.2 million. Modifications were still ongoing even when the U.S. Army knew the DLA would be leaving Kandahar and would not require the warehouse, wasting $400,000.
The SIGAR report asks that the Department of Defense look into the matter and identify who made the decision to continue construction even after the warehouse was deemed no longer necessary and why extra money was spent on the project.
This warehouse is just one example among many of the waste of taxpayer dollars by the U.S. in Afghanistan. A May 2015 report released by SIGAR detailed how $36 million was spent on a never-used headquarters building at a major U.S. military base, Camp Leatherneck. Even the top general at the base requested the project be halted, but his recommendation was ignored, supposedly due to miscommunication.