We are fighting a global war on terrorism and I understand that effectiveness is more important than efficiency.
However, there is lots of fraud, waste and abuse out there that eventually impacts the ability to remain effective in the long run.
Major Mike offers a great example of what I am talking about. Major Mike gives his readers a warning at the beginning of his post...this is a hornet's nest...are you ready? Here is an excerpt:
Of the 339 people who started [the Air Assault Course (02-05)], only 77 graduated. Of the 190 who were left on the last day, only the 77 who completed the 12-mile road march, graduated. I don’t know how else to put this…this is a monumental waste of assets...
...This school specifically, needs to get over itself and provide a training service to the Army that has value. No general skills, follow-on school can call itself a success with a washout rate of 77%. Only 39 students failed on the technical aspects of the course…this could have been a completion rate of over 88%. OK, wash out the zero day guys, and the completion rate still would have been over 82%. The curriculum, the program of instruction, the screening processes, the staff, the focus, the mission…all need to be re-examined in order to determine how this kind of waste is possible. I may want to provide realistic and challenging training, but I am failing the Army if I can only graduate 23% from an Air Assault course.
I realize that a patch/badge is involved here, and I’ve been in the rod and gun club, but there is no way I can view this as anything other than waste and mismanagement. Does this course stand-alone in this regard? I doubt it.
This post is about value…if I were a unit commander, I would not send another soul to this course. I would stand a 77% chance of wasting my money. Shame. This kind of waste is what sends congressmen clamoring for General’s heads, and in some ways…I can’t blame them. You can’t belly-ache for more money, then pour it down the drain. This needs fixin.
[Note: Usually the home station commander is charged the entire training cost when a trainee is eliminated (voluntary or involuntary) from a training course...otherwise, a central training fund pays for the graduates]
Major Mike...now you got me started...
Other abuses...a commander schedules passenger airlift for his troopers over Labor Day weekend...expensive rates due to the holiday. To be sure, USTRANSCOM asks the commander if he is sure he needs airlift over the holiday weekend. The commander verifies his request so USTRANSCOM makes the necessary arrangements and signs a contract with an airline.
However, a couple of days before Labor Day, the commander cancels the mission (probably decided to give his troopers the weekend off). However, the contract must still be honored since schedules had to be changed, civilian aircrews readied, and insurance purchased. Even if there was a termination clause in the contract, the military is still getting ZERO benefit for the cost. The contractor airline pockets a nice chunk of change. Even better, the troopers still need to be transported at a later date. Ka-ching...another contract...more dollars for the airline.
Who pays? Not the commander. These types of contracts are managed centrally. If the commander is forced to assume liability, he can simply charge the excess cost to the war on terror. After all, we get a supplemental appropriation right? Not any more. How long do you think Congress will tolerate this kind of abuse and start holding someone accountable?
Then there is the habit of some people (Pentagon types) who travel to Afghanistan/Iraq at the end of one month and make sure they stay long enough for the next month to start. BINGO...two month's Combat Zone Tax Exclusion...and you wonder why the troops who are actually deployed are skeptical.
Again, I understand the need to be effective in war and that taking time to study more efficient ways of doing business (or investigating each FWA charge) is a luxury we don't always have in the middle of the war.
But come on...enough is enough already. I agree with Major Mike...this needs fixing!