Army Defends $36 Million HQ Built Afghanistan And Never Used
The commanders didn’t want the 64,000 square foot building, and it was never used.
“The Army built us an enormous white elephant, and now, to save face, we’re being told to waste more money and time to move into it,” said a senior Marine officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment on the investigation. “We don’t need it. We’re packing up there.”
The Marine general in charge of the southwest said earlier this year that he wanted to stay out of the giant facility to “end the money drain.”
Although the building — which contains spacious offices, a briefing theater and an operations center with tiered seating — can accommodate 1,500 people, only about 400 headquarters-level staff members are on the base today.
Still, the investigation by the Army general concluded that a fellow general’s decision in 2010 to erect the massive structure at Camp Leatherneck, over the objection of a previous top Marine commander in Afghanistan, was justified. The decision reflected the U.S. Central Command’s “strategic vision” for Afghanistan at the time, which anticipated an “enduring base” in southwestern Afghanistan.
However, no agreement has been reached with Hamid Karzai about keeping troops in Afghanistan past 2014, and Camp Leatherneck would not be the location if that were the case.