Posts Tagged ‘waste’


I hate the headline and I hate the underlying issue.

The US military built a 64,000-square-foot headquarters building on Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan that it will never use.  The two-story building is bigger than a football field and cost taxpayers $34 million.  It comes with all the tools to wage a modern war.  A vast operations center with tiered seating.  Check.  A briefing theater.  Check.  Spacious offices.  Check.  Fancy chairs.  Check.  A powerful air conditioning system.  Check.

The structure was completed this year, but the military has no plan to use it. Commanders in the area, who insisted three years ago that they did not need the building,  are now in the process of withdrawing forces and see no reason to move into the new facility.

Are you angry yet?

The building is unused, unoccupied, and will likely be demolished.  It would cost more to open and operate the building, than to tear it down and leave.  On a similar note, the Afghans cannot afford to open or operate the structure due to its grand size.

Why would you build a permanent structure when temporary buildings got the job done during the surge?  Why would you spend that much money when commanders specifically said that the need did not exist?  Why would you construct a permanent building when the locals can’t even maintain it?  It seems simple now, but perhaps the questions were also easy to ask three years ago.

I point out this news story to highlight the need for good judgment and speaking the truth.  At some stage in the game, someone needed to stop this project.  A person needed to be bold, share what was happening to leaders, and save the day.

This week saw the first level of military furloughs.  We are making military technicians stay home one day a week, so that we can cut defense budgets.  Perhaps our leaders need a strong, bold, voice to remind them that employees matter.  When your paycheck is being reduced 20%, stories like this only put salt in the wound.

I also want to point out the horrible waste that went into this construction project. Think of the orphanages, schools, medical clinics, or hospitals that could have been built and supplied instead of this empty structure.

Perhaps there can be some redemption in this story if we learn a lesson to stop bad ideas before the ground breaking ceremony.

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