Watchdog report: $86 million counternarcotics plane never flown
A plane bought and modified by the Pentagon and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for counternarcotics operations in Afghanistan is four times over budget and no longer headed to that country, according to an inspector general report released Wednesday.
“Even though collectively the DEA and [the Department of Defense] have spent more than $86 million on the Global Discovery program, we found that, over seven years after the aircraft was purchased for the program, the aircraft remains inoperable, resting on jacks and has never actually flown in Afghanistan,” a Justice Department inspector general report reads.
In 2008, the DEA bought the plane for $8.6 million for the Global Discovery program, a joint Pentagon-DEA project to modify a transport aircraft for use in Afghanistan. The modifications include surveillance and other capabilities needed for a combat environment.
The project was originally supposed to cost $22 million and be done by December 2012.
As of July, the Pentagon and the DEA have spent $86.6 million on the program, according to the report. Of that, $67.9 million has come just from the Defense Department, including $1.9 million to build a hangar in Kabul that has never housed the aircraft.
The DEA stopped aviation operations in Afghanistan in July without the plane ever having flown there, according to the report.
“The aircraft has never flown in Afghanistan as originally intended and, because the DEA removed all aviation operations from Afghanistan in July 2015, it likely never will,” the report says. “Moreover, despite the DEA’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, as of March 2016, the DOD continued to spend appropriated funds in an effort to make the aircraft operational and flyable.”
A DEA official told the inspector general the plane will instead be used in the Caribbean, Central America and South America when it's ready, according to the report. - Read More at thehill