SecDef Mattis upset at Pentagon wasting $28 million on Afghan uniforms with wrong camo pattern

SecDef Mattis upset at Pentagon wasting $28 million on Afghan uniforms with wrong camo pattern

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis gestures during a press briefing on the campaign to defeat ISIS at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., May 19, 2017.

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis criticized officials at the Pentagon for spending $28 million on forest camouflage-patterned uniforms for Afghan National Army soldiers. Only 2.1% of Afghanistan is covered by forests.

The Afghan minister of defense at the time "liked the woodland, urban and temperate patterns," the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said. It potentially cost up to an additional $28 million dollars between 2008 and 2017, the watchdog said. In a memo sent out to senior Pentagon officials on Friday and seen by Reuters, Mattis said the SIGAR report was an example of a "complacent mode of thinking."

"Cavalier or casually acquiescent decisions to spend taxpayer dollars in an ineffective and wasteful manner are not to recur," Mattis wrote.

"Rather than minimize this report or excuse wasteful decisions, I expect all DoD (Department of Defense) organizations to use this error as a catalyst to bring to light wasteful practices – and take aggressive steps to end waste," Mattis wrote.

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