According to White House budget estimates, it costs roughly $1 million a year to support the deployment of a single soldier to Afghanistan. Ever wonder why it costs so much? Landlocked country, long supply lines, poor infrastructure, yadda yadda. But how about another possible contributing factor: The reliance of the Pentagon’s main supply agency on no-bid contracts?
Newsweek’s stellar Declassified blog got the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to fess up to awarding $1.4 billion in no-bid contracts to two shady foreign entities to supply aviation fuel to U.S. military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. In a statement to Declassified, DLA confirmed that it had awarded contracts to two firms, Mina Corp. and Red Star Enterprises, under federal procurement guidelines that allow “contracting without providing for full and open competition.”
That’s problematic for a number of reasons: For starters, allegations of crooked base supply deals helped lead to the violent overthrow of the government of Kyrgyzstan. And leaving aside the question of whether the United States deliberately turned a blind eye to corruption in a strategically located Central Asian state, let’s turn to another point: Why the hell is DLA awarding no-bid contracts on this scale?