Pentagon to answer for wasting $28 million on questionable camouflage for Afghan soldiers

The Pentagon will be called to account on Capitol Hill this week for its pricey plan to outfit Afghan soldiers in uniforms with a private-label forest camouflage scheme of dubious value in the desert country.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., fired off a letter Friday to the Pentagon about the report from the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction that found the military may have squandered $28 million by purchasing uniforms for the Afghan army without testing their effectiveness. The uniforms use a proprietary forest pattern while woodlands cover just 2% of the country’s terrain.

Meanwhile, a panel of the House Armed Services committee will meet on Tuesday to hear from John Sopko, the inspector general, who blasted U.S. commanders in June for buying the uniforms that also featured fancier frills like zippers instead of buttons.

McCaskill, the ranking Democrat the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, called on the Pentagon to explain why it issued the contract without competitive bidding.

“This is a contracting decision that makes you smack your head in frustration,” McCaskill said in a statement. “It’s a prime example of wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and we’ve got to get to the bottom of how this happened.”

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