Rapid Fire September 10, 2012: Afghanistan Close, But No SIGAR
- The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released its interim report [PDF] on the pretroleum-related logistics capabilities of the Afghan National Army (ANA). NATO’s Combined
“CSTC-A did not have any records of fuel purchase and payment information prior to March 2011 because, according to CSTC-A, all ANA POL financial records totaling nearly $475 million from fiscal year 2007 to February 2011 had been shredded in violation of DOD and Department of the Army policies. It also did not have records or practices in place to fully account for fuel consumption once vendors delivered the fuel directly to ANA locations. In June 2012, CSTC-A was able to reconcile the ANA fuel purchases with payments between March 2011 to March 2012, but still could not account for fuel consumption.”
- In response NTM-A/CSTC-A issued a short statement saying they are aware of and addressing these “deficiencies.” A year ago the US Congress’ Commission on Wartime Contracting published a report denouncing waste and fraud totaling more than $30B in Iraq and Afghanistan, with root causes that included poorly-managed fuel procurement.
- The Pentagon recently sent to Congress their FY11 report [PDF] on contracts for services. This inventory lists a total of $144.5B awarded by 31 DoD components and amounting to more than 700,000 contractor full time equivalents. The US Army leads with close to 28% of the total spent, followed by the Navy and Air Force at around 23% each.
- Researchers from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) interviewed [PDF] four people they say are senior Quetta Shura Taliban figures who claim they are (collectively) open to renounce their association with Al-Qaida and negotiate a ceasefire. This comes with lots of ifs and buts. Among other questions: how will they deal with the Haqqani network, just officially recognized as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US government?
- RUSI also looks at recent debates in the German press about whether Germany’s federal government is in the process of backtracking from its electoral promise to remove US tactical nuclear bombs from the country.
- France’s DGA asked [in French] Astrium and Thales Alenia Space to produce studies on future military satellite communications in order to help kickstart the COMSAT NG program next year that should replace the current Syracuse III system by 2019.
- France being France, it is a worker trade union that ends up being vocal against defense cuts. The CFDT union asked the government to “avoid the worst” [PDF in French]. CFDT is left-leaning like the Socialist government in place since the May/June presidential and parliamentary elections, but more moderate than avowed Communist CGT, the other dominant union in France’s vast public sector.
- Last week Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding offered voluntary severance packages to around 1,200 employees aged 60 and above.
- Drone Wars UK is trying to keep tabs on where and why UAV crashes occur. Interestingly – or coincidentally – the USAF’s website dedicated to tracking such mishaps was updated the very next day. Like other similar discussions of UAV crashes (see MQ-9), this list reaches dramatic conclusions (“we really will be living in the Century of drone crashes”) without properly computing actual reliability metrics in relative terms against time or distance flown. Manned aircraft crash too and listing absolute numbers in a vacuum does not enlighten much.
- High-profile investor Carl Icahn sent a letter to Navistar on Sunday asking the company to let shareholders appoint at least 4 board members. With 15% of shares, he is one of the company’s largest shareholders. Earlier this year he lost a proxy battle at Oshkosh.