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 "Congress":

"… he OCO portion of the separate omnibus appropriations bill for 2015, which Congress is trying to pass before the holidays, another $1.2 billion is set aside f …"

"… a public hearing, based merely on written assent from the four chairmen of Congress’s defense-related committees. Their letters are rarely made public. On …"

"… tter that his panel was concerned that OCO funds, “which are provided by Congress specifically for ongoing combat operations and related efforts,” were be …"

"… gs like these are technically allowed only if some of the OCO funding that Congress has already approved suddenly turns out to be greater than necessary. And …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… S. Marines and British military forces began their current withdrawal from Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force …"

"… d province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan abruptly classified its assessment of the fighting abilities of the Afghan …"

"… reconstruction effort that the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction by email that the latest ratings now are classified in thei …"

"… r an explanation. The change was flagged by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko in his Oct. 2014 quarterly report released today …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… bility.” …"

"… tem failed, according to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, and for reasons that could easily have been foreseen. The …"

"… tates. The second is a Defense Department listing of all those received in Afghanistan. They rely heavily on the serial numbers of the arms. But these numbers m …"

"… were duplicates, according to the report by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko.  More than 20,000 serial numbers in each …"

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 "United States":

"… and poor spending controls. No one has calculated precisely how much the United States wasted or misspent in Afghanistan, but a special congressionally-chartered …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… wed optimism that America’s estimated $120 billion effort to reconstruct Afghanistan will leave behind “a stable and secure country that serves the prosperit …"

"… ion. The officers concluded in a report for the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Afghanistan’s ability to serve its citizens’ needs remains directly threatened by …"

"… y for those involved; Washington made the problem worse by inundating Afghanistan with more cash than it could absorb in legitimate channels to undertake ne …"

"… ng a year ago from the outgoing head of the multilateral military force in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen. According to the report, Allen told the pre …"

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 "Afghanistan":

"… ates. These conclusions conflict with claims by the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan to the auditor last October that the U.S.-led alliance was on tr …"

"… oops to read and write in either Dari or Pashto, the official languages of Afghanistan. Officials with the training program told the auditor last October that 2 …"

"… total of $200 million over four years. Two of the contractors are based in Afghanistan and one, headquartered in Florida, is led by retired U.S. Army officers. …"

"… spond to the report, Major Doug McNair, a training mission spokesperson in Afghanistan, wrote in an email that “literacy training must be balanced against …"

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 "Iran":

"… that the DEA find a way to collaborate with its counterparts in Russia and Iran, where a significant portion of Afghanistan’s heroin moves. The task of …"

Exporting mismanagement to Afghanistan

By R. Jeffrey Smith

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… s,” Sopko said in a statement to the Center for Public Integrity. “The United States has spent hundreds of millions on spare parts that are unaccounted for.” …"

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 "John F. Sopko":

"… uption that has undermined those efforts and alienated the Afghan public. John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, released 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 "America":

"… that target was meant to strike a balance between what is needed and what America and its allies can deliver in concert with the Afghan government. The Whi …"

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 "Pentagon":

"… mic and national security being threatened by our fiscal situation.” …"

"… t extensions worth more than $4 billion over three years, according to the Pentagon’s chief internal watchdog and congressional investigators. The dea …"

"… ee on National Security expressed outrage at a hearing last week about the Pentagon’s handling of the deal, especially two contract extensions awarded amid …"

"… n active war zone,” Schuster said. At the hearing, Daniel R. Blair, the Pentagon’s deputy inspector general for auditing, told lawmakers however that the …"

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 "Pentagon":

"… the region. He promised to produce a new study for Congress about how the Pentagon’s efforts have gone awry, explaining that “we owe it to the people of …"

"… e accountability?" Hagel asked, adding that this is an issue that the Pentagon needs to take a closer look at. He added that much of the blame stemm …"

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "U.S. military":

"… l activity.” But he noted that the shredding began within days after the U.S. military’s Central Command specifically ordered managers “not to destroy or dis …"

IG: Afghan fuel records go missing

By Aaron Mehta

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Defense":

"… report released Monday, more than four years of financial records that the Department of Defense was supposed to keep to track this spending are either missing or so poorl …"

"… ion and size of fuel sites, was not possible.The report concludes that the Department of Defense agency in charge of tracking the oil “does not have accurate or supporta …"

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.

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 "Department of State":

"… uncovered $12 million of grants for construction that was disbursed by the Department of State without adequate follow-up to ensure the money was being put to good use. …"

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 "Bill Clinton":

"… e director for national security and international affairs under President Bill Clinton, said the Hill’s push came at a time when the Pentagon’s pay was often …"

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.

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.

Excerpts from this story referencing "David Petraeus":

"… ation at all levels” — partly at the urging of commanders such as Gen. David Petraeus. But the assessment notes that efforts to rush newly-developed equipment t …"

Experienced watchdog appointed for U.S. spending in Afghanistan

By Aaron Mehta

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

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 "Congress":

"… urvey. “Clearly the polarization that you are seeing on the floor of the Congress is not reflective of the American people.” A broad disagreement with th …"

"… h a statement that the budget had “a lot of waste” and that members of Congress regularly approve unneeded spending just to benefit their own supporters. …"

"… t Americans are able to hold two competing ideas in their mind and, unlike Congress, thoughtfully recognize the merits of both,” Kull explained. “And then …"

"… ea based missiles. Whether the weight of public attitudes will be felt in Congress and the White House is unclear. As close students of Washington know, legi …"

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.

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

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 "oil production":

"… e. The president pointed proudly to increased oil drilling, increased U.S. oil production, and declining dependence on imports. But understandably he passed over an …"

"… levant comparison.Drill, Baby, DrillOn energy, the president said domestic oil production is booming and dependence on foreign oil is going down. But he didn’t me …"

"… millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration. … Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years. That’s right — eight y …"

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

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 "Iraq War":

"… Sharon Weinburger discuss her no-bid contractor series on DemocracyNow.The Iraq War Card (2008)False pretensesFollowing 9/11, President Bush and seven top off …"

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 "Connecticut":

"… has upset some lawmakers.Six members of the congressional delegation from Connecticut, home to Sikorsky Aircraft, wrote to the Pentagon to protest the Russian p …"

Pages