A long-term blank check for 'war' spending

By Julia Harte

In the federal budget, emergency spending for combat operations is the new normal.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Senate":

"… efense Department comptroller can — and often does — ask the House and Senate committees on appropriations and armed services for permission throughout …"

"… on’s base budget for future years. Gordon Trowbridge, spokesman for the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he would try to supply copies of other such …"

"… copies of other such letters, but did not. Vince Morris, spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Claude Chafin, spokesman for the House Armed …"

NATO suddenly classifies ratings of Afghan military and police capabilities

By Julia Harte

NATO abruptly classifies assessments of Afghan army and police, which the U.S. spent billions building up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghan National Security Forces":

"… e NATO command will have to rely increasingly on self-assessments from the Afghan National Security Forces of their capabilities as Western forces withdraw from the country in the n …"

U.S. loses track of weapons shipped to Afghanistan

By James Arkin

Three separate systems are used to track the arms sent to Afghanistan, but they are riddled with errors and not linked up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pakistan":

"… Michael Dumont, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia, said his department is now merging the two databases in …"

Afghans don’t like soybeans, despite a big U.S. push

By Alexander Cohen and James Arkin

Washington ignored warnings that Afghans were unlikely to embrace protein-rich soy products.

Excerpts from this story referencing "lobbyist":

"… who signed it. She’s an Obama political appointee and former registered lobbyist for the International Dairy Foods Association, where she was general couns …"

U.S. military describes its mistakes in Afghanistan

By R. Jeffrey Smith

A report by the Joint Chiefs of Staff says that both military and civilian officials failed to tackle corrosive corruption.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pakistan":

"… inadequate police force, and not the Taliban’s sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan, all longstanding U.S. concerns — currently remains “the existential, …"

U.S. literacy program for Afghan military comes up short

By Mattie Quinn and R. Jeffrey Smith

Auditor says a program in Afghanistan costing hundreds of millions of dollars has been undermined by poor contracts and weak monitoring.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Council on Foreign Relations":

"… akes over,” said Stephen Biddle, senior fellow on defense policy for the Council on Foreign Relations. “It won’t go to zero, but it will be diminished.” Asked to respond …"

Afghanistan's narcotics problems grow worse

By R. Jeffrey Smith and Mattie Quinn

A costly and ambitious U.S. effort to curtail Afghanistan's poppy production falters as U.S. forces draw down.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… urther to official corruption — essentially threatening much of what the United States has tried to accomplish there over the past decade, at a total cost of mor …"

"… oke to during his visit all “told me that they are very worried that the United States and its coalition partners are not sufficiently focused on counternarcotic …"

"… . He said that while he cannot promise success this year or next year, the United States and its partners have put in place “a sustainable and adaptable” progr …"

Exporting mismanagement to Afghanistan

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Auditors cannot account for many spare parts purchased for the Afghanistan Army.

Audit: U.S. lacks anti-corruption plan for Afghan aid

By Douglas Birch

Audit says U.S. lacks blueprint to assure Afghan assistance is well-spent

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pakistan":

"… ugglers along the 5,000 miles of border the landlocked country shares with Pakistan, Iran, China and three Central Asian states. Among other initiatives, the …"

"… the State Department’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, wrote that the embassy’s three working groups “provide the targeted a …"

Talk instead of development in Afghanistan

By Rebecca LaFlure

Millions for chats instead of grants.

Government auditor challenges White House account of Afghanistan security

By Richard H.P. Sia

A special inspector general discloses that as US forces head for the exit, the Pentagon has not met its goal for enlarging the Afghan force

Excerpts from this story referencing "Afghan National Security Forces":

"… ta supplied by the Pentagon. “The goal to ‘train and field’ 352,000 Afghan National Security Forces by last October was not met.” Sopko said in his latest quarterly report. …"

"… SF personnel is necessary to ensure that U.S. funds that support the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] are used for legitimate and eligible costs,” it said. As a result, the …"

"… ted more than $51 billion so far “to build, equip, train and sustain the Afghan National Security Forces.” But U.S. officials and watchdog groups have previously raised alarms …"

Pentagon claims $757 million overbilling by contractor in Afghanistan

By Richard H.P. Sia

Lawmakers are upset that the Pentagon kept giving billions of dollars to a food supplier for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Taliban":

"… ed that DLA’s original solicitation said that only “remnants” of the Taliban were still active in areas of Afghanistan where his company would be opera …"

More waste found in Afghanistan as US heads for the exit

By Douglas Birch

The US effort in Afghanistan has been repeatedly tainted by poor planning and corruption, says inspector general

Excerpts from this story referencing "Hamid Karzai":

"… is confirmed. President Obama, at a joint appearance with Aghan president Hamid Karzai at the White House on Jan. 11 that previewed the American withdrawal, said …"

Missing: $200M in gas receipts for NATO aid in Afghanistan

By R. Jeffrey Smith

NATO fuel purchase documents in Afghanistan were shredded and remain missing

IG: Afghan fuel records go missing

By Aaron Mehta

New IG report warns of missing data on $475 million in oil

Is the Democratic platform in synch with the public on national defense?

By Aaron Mehta and R. Jeffrey Smith

Democratic platform offers hints at how Obama would handle defense in second term.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Africa":

"… t just with military force but with leadership on the international stage. Africa, Latin America and the Middle East are areas that get special paragraphs c …"

Counter-IED efforts still beset by poor oversight and duplication

By Zach Toombs and Aaron Mehta

The Pentagon has trouble tracking billions of dollars in expenditures on the most vexing threat of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Millions of dollars in U.S. aid wasted in Afghanistan

By Zach Toombs

Government watchdog finds many examples of failed construction projects.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pakistan":

"… ice a watchful eye along the nation’s militarily-significant border with Pakistan.Instead, they serve as a reminder that some of the $400 million the U.S. h …"

Congress can’t say no to military pay raises

By Zach Toombs

Soldiering now pays much better than civilian work

Excerpts from this story referencing "American Enterprise Institute":

"… its rising costs before leaving the position last July. In a speech at The American Enterprise Institute, he called the military pay system a “rigid, one-size-fits-all approach …"

Army's mishandling of Afghanistan police contract boosted costs

By Zach Toombs

The cost of a billion-dollar program jumps 14 percent in just the first four months.

Excerpts from this story referencing "investigator":

"… t fell outside the scope of DoD’s mission in Afghanistan.Ben Freeman, an investigator for the non-profit Project on Government Oversight, who specializes in Def …"

U.S. military admits major war mistakes

By R. Jeffrey Smith

An internal report prepared by the Joint Staff describes failures of leadership and planning in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Experienced watchdog appointed for U.S. spending in Afghanistan

By Aaron Mehta

A veteran investigator fills one of ten vacant Inspector General jobs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "investigator":

"… ve found it.This week, the Obama administration announced that the veteran investigator is their pick for the vacant position of Special Inspector General for Afg …"

Public overwhelmingly supports large defense spending cuts

By R. Jeffrey Smith

Young, old, Republicans, Democrats, men, women all say they favor whopping reductions in military spending.

Excerpts from this story referencing "policeman":

"… tion, while 72 percent said the country is “playing the role of military policeman too much.” Fifty-four percent agreed that cutting defense spending is pr …"

"… d effective (36 percent very convincing). We are playing the role of world policeman too much (29 percent very convincing). Missile defenses could help defend …"

Corruption still threatens U.S. efforts in Afghanistan

By Aaron Mehta

As U.S. heads for the door in Afghanistan, persistent corruption threatens to undermine development efforts there.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Kabul":

"… government in the future. …"

New light on Pakistani drone war's death toll

By The Associated Press

U.S. attacks result in predominantly militant deaths, though perception suggest civilians are the target

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pakistan":

"… bad contributed to this report. …"

"… f the deadliest attacks in the past 18 months.The widespread perception in Pakistan that civilians, not militants, are the principal victims — a view that i …"

"… of the 10 attacks in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for militants in Pakistan's northwest tribal region along the Afghan border, was told that a signifi …"

"… d one of the worst civilian death tolls since the drone program started in Pakistan, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were militants, villagers said.But …"

FACT CHECK: The state of Obama’s facts

By FactCheck.Org

The president’s facts and figures were often accurate — but not the whole story

Excerpts from this story referencing "Office of Management and Budget":

"… t, as far as his statement goes. Bloomberg News, based on a review of Office of Management and Budget data, reported that the Obama administration approved 613 regula …"

FACT CHECK: Foreign policy themed GOP debate full of falsehoods

By FactCheck.Org

Republican presidential candidates stretch the truth on international issues in South Carolina debate

The weekly watchdog: Aug. 29 - Sept. 2

By Bill Buzenberg

In case you missed them, catch up on this week's top investigations from iWatch News

Excerpts from this story referencing "Halliburton":

"… se, as originally reported by the Center, is KBR (formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton) with some $37 billion in contracts.A Thousand Bundlers Line Up Behind Gov …"

Windfalls of War: A decade of keeping government spending accountable

By Sandy Johnson

Tracking the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, $1 trillion and up

Excerpts from this story referencing "Halliburton":

"… eriod of six months, the contracted value of one Iraqi  task order of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root grew by a multiple of 36 an …"

"… 36 and was modified 21 times, according to previously classified documents.Halliburton contracts balloonDespite being under an investigative cloud, Cheney’s fo …"

Windfalls of war: Pentagon buys choppers from Russia to equip Afghan, Iraqi militaries

By Sharon Weinberger

One-stop shopping for helicopters...made in Russia

Excerpts from this story referencing "Pakistan":

"… primarily to buy Russian-built Mi-17 helicopters for Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have topped $1 billion and have almost all been sole-source or non-compet …"