• U.S. Wastes $562.2 Million on Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Sector

    June 2, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan

    gluttony



    There may not be money available to fix America’s own crumbling infrastructure (Amtrak!), but there is lots of money available to waste on not fixing Afghanistan’s infrastructure.

    In today’s incidence of atrocity and obscenity, specifically not fixing Afghanistan’s civil aviation sector.


    Civil aviation, of course, means regular airplanes painted white, not green or gray, happily flying from city to city full of happy tourists and spunky businesspeople. Just like your last smooth flight from Albany to Detroit. Only in this case, it is all supposed to take place in the happy land of Afghanistan, where looking like Detroit would be a step up for most cities.

    America’s most depressed bureaucrats, the people in the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released an audit of the $562.2 million in U.S. assistance to Afghanistan’s civil aviation sector, administered by the Department of Defense ($500 million) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA; $56.5 million.)


    The audit revealed:

    — Despite some strengthening of Afghanistan’s civil aviation capabilities over the past 12 years (law of probability suggests after starting from a base of zero, something had to work after over a decade of banging away) the U.S. could not transfer airspace management operations to the Afghan government as it had originally planned, due to a lack of trained Afghan air traffic controllers.

    — Despite its efforts, the FAA was not able to train enough air traffic controllers for Afghanistan to operate airspace management services. The majority of FAA-trained Afghan personnel never completed the required on-the-job training.

    — The FAA attempted to train Afghan students abroad, but faced problems obtaining passports and visas for the students, and some students did not return to Afghanistan after being sent for training in other countries, including the U.S.

    — Due to security concerns, Afghan students could not access the facilities they needed for on-the-job training.

    — The Afghan government’s failure to award an airspace management contract resulted in the U.S. paying $29.5 million for an interim contract. The Afghan government didn’t award a contract because of what it said were the excessive costs (which did not bother the U.S., who paid up for them.) Unless the Afghan government awards a follow-on contract before the interim contract expires, the U.S. government will be called upon to fund another interim contract.

    — The Afghan government uses only a portion of the $34.5 million in revenue collected from airspace over-flight fees for civil aviation purposes, despite the government’s stated commitment of using its civil aviation revenue to finance aviation services and infrastructure development. One does wonder where all the rest of the money is going to.



    If you can stomach it, read the full SIGAR report online.



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