WASHINGTON ― An office within the Pentagon wasted at least $64.8 million on a program to modify a Drug Enforcement Agency to perform advanced surveillance operations in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. Department of Defense inspector general.
The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats spent the money on ATR 42-500 aircraft modifications under the Global Discovery Program. The program involved the DEA and DoD, who were jointly spending $86 million on the modifications.
According to The Washington Post, the modified aircraft remained inoperable for seven years after its purchase. And the DEA is yet to use it in Afghanistan-based missions.
It appears the office in charge of the program failed to effectively manage and oversee counternarcotics agreements between the Department of Justice and the DoD. The DoD also did not receive assurances that funds transferred to Justice had been utilized for the DoD’s reviewed counternarcotics agreements.
The program’s mismanagement manifested itself in the form of a lack of clearly defined requirements for the ATR 42-500 modifications, work duplication, continuous personnel changs, and poorly defined roles and responsibilities for personnel.
During the seven-year program, the DoD laid out contracts for ATR-42-500 modifications, purchased equipment and removed modifications, ultimately returning the aircraft to its original form without the required U.S. Federal Aviation Administration flight certification.