Combat Waste


Howdy, everyone. Sorry I haven’t kept in touch as often as I wanted to. With the holidays here, we’ve been VERY busy getting troops home for leave.

Recently, my team lost eight vehicles. The contract was ending and my unit decided not to renew it to save money. I’m all in favor of saving taxpayer money, but not at the expense of the mission. Frankly, I lost 2 more vehicles than I need to efficiently do my job. However, this vehicle situation is one I want to touch on.

Where I am located, there are NTVs (basically civilian SUVs) everywhere. It almost seems like there are more NTVs than there are personnel to drive them. These NTVs range from older, early 00s model Toyotas to current model year Land Cruisers. Vehicles range in price from about $500 to $1500 for a lease per month, depending on model and year.

My team of used to have about 14 of these, one of which was a bus, one was a pickup truck, and one was a minivan. The rest were various types of Toyota and Mitsubishi SUVs. We recently ended the contract on eight of them. The average cost of these vehicles was $950 per month. By ending this contract, we saved over $90,000!

Just on my FOB alone, there are easily 5,000 NTVs. Now, I don’t know how many are assigned to military units and how many are assigned to contractors and civilians. So, let’s just use a nice, conservative number of 1,000 belonging to military units. Assuming the average cost of $1000 per month per vehicle, we are spending $1 million per month JUST ON NTVs!! But, that isn’t what is most outrageous.

KAF is a central turn-in point for units that are leaving or upgrading equipment. As you may know, we no longer use HMMWV (humvees) outside the wire. We have been using the MRAP series of vehicles for a few years now. These vehicles are great and increase the survivability of our troops from small arms fire and IEDs. They are true lifesavers!

There are HMMWVs here on KAF that are just sitting in a yard collecting dust, but no one can have them issued because they aren’t on our MTOE. In other words, HMMWVs are authorized vehicles for units to use right now unless they bring them from home station. Our only options for FOB transportation are NTVs or the bulky MRAPs (which I don’t have, by the way).

When we lost our vehicles, I looked into getting HMMWVs to use for transportation and movement of personnel and equipment around the FOB. I was told that I couldn’t sign for any because we aren’t authorized them.

So, instead of just issuing troops who never go outside the wire – like me – free vehicles that are just sitting around, we pay $1000 per month per vehicle that we don’t need to. And this is just on THIS FOB. There are numerous FOBs where this is also the case and we’re wasting money on civilian vehicles when a free HMMWV would work just fine.

We are a nearly bankrupt nation and every department is trying to find ways to trim their belts. I think a good start would be to get rid of these NTV contracts and find a way to authorize troops to use HMMWVs for use on the FOBs only. It sickens me that we are wasting so much money needlessly. It also sickens me that I need vehicles for my mission but I can’t sign for a vehicle just sitting around doing nothing.

On the positive side, we haven’t had any indirect fire since 30 November. The weather has gotten pretty cold, dipping down into the low 30s overnight. The days are still quite pleasant hovering around 70. We come to the office all bundled up and by mid afternoon we’re already sweating!

Morale is high and our troops are doing great things here. With the holidays here, care packages have been flowing in. It’s humbling to be the recipient of such generosity. Someone even donated a Blu-Ray player to us to watch movies on when they heard that our PS2 was broken. Now, we’re just trying to get movies to play on it. Thankfully, it also plays regular DVDs.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. We will celebrate here with a special meal of canned eggnog, meats, cheeses and crackers. It’s a deployment tradition I’ve always followed. We’ll sit around drinking hot chocolate and apple cider and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas! Our tree even resembles that one! heh. Just kidding. We had a tree sent to us with lights and decorations.

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Not surprised…used to see all kinds of silly things in service. Always used to sicken me as manager of my departmental and a command fund that when October started to roll around and I had to make sure and spend every dime before it did.

Anyway, stay safe šŸ™‚

Send me your address over there my soldiers angel group will send you DVD’s.


Lions led by burros

Well, I wonder what the Total Cost of Ownership of the Hummer vs the Commercial Truck is. The Cost Per Mile. Replacement Cost. Etc…. After you drive a Hummer X number of miles, it gets disposed/recycled/scrapped.

I’ll bet the Leased Cost per mile and operating costs of a commercial vehicle prices out at below half the Hummer, once you add in all the Government Contracting.

Merry Christmas CJ. Thanks again for all you and your compatriots do for us!

As for commenting on the fiscal waste in the military, I admit this is a subject in which I have little knowledge. However, you are correct about this country’s financial problems. There is room in every area of our federal budget that could be trimmed.

A “free” vehicle isn’t spreading the wealth. The USA is a huge bump on the world highway and needs to be smoothed out. The $1,000 per month per vehicle will help remove this bump.

I don’t know if it is still done now, but when I was in basic training in 1964, the mess hall had to fix food for every soldier over the weekend, even though most weren’t going to be there, then, after each meal, ALL of the food was thrown out.

Kindof makes you want to put the government in charge of healthcare to, doesn’t it? I am grateful for the improved armored vehicles. I can’t tell you how sick I felt when I was told that the one my son was in was hit by an IED this summer. Fortunately he was in a much safer ride than the thin skinned humvee he used in Iraq a few years ago and no one was seriously injured. But it really makes a parent thankful.

don’t worry about spending and saving, HOW can you possibly over spend in there, do you have shopping centers in all corners? do you have house to buy furniture for?
and get the comfort of home? no?

you all are exempt as long as this war is on,let the BLACK BUS MADE IN CANADA disappear from obi’s campaign and AIR-FORCE 1, BE GROUNDED FIRST, THEY CAN FIND TRILLIONS TO SAVE BEFORE YOU ALL,
who’s in charge of saying no, you cannot sign, sign anyway, and throw him out, he is an incompetent
screw preventing the wheel to roll, we don’t need those in the warzone, period. tell him I said so.
bye to all we are thinking of you all. especially at this time, don’t loose you focus because of CHRISTMAS, and incompetent screws

HOPE you get the new dvds in time,

George F: (#4)

While you are probably right in absolute terms, what you are actually doing is comparing “sunk costs” (money already spent with no incremental cost involved) – the HMMWV – to actual cash money out the door every month (the NTV). In this case, CJ’s point is 100% correct. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute. And thank you, CJ for your service.

Here are a few alternatives:

Missiles vs soft target:
Replace the Hellfire with the DAGR. A Hellfire costs $580,000 and the cost for the DAGR kit and rocket is about $10,000. The DAGR is a kit that turns a rocket, such as the Hydra-70, into a laser guided missile. Both the Hellfire and DAGR can have the same kill radius on soft targets due to the way they explode.

Replace fighter jets with Super Tucanos in areas where the enemy doesn’t have much of a capability of shooting down aircraft. A Super Tucano is as cheap as a Predator, can stay aloft as long as a Predator, is faster than a Predator yet doesn’t crash as often. They can also carry more fire power than an Apache while using any flat ground as a base as opposed to the massive infrastructure needed to launch and recover jet fighters. The fuel cost to fly 5 F-15s over the Superbowl is $450,000. One F-15 can stay over the battlefield for 15 minutes (the offical loiter time) as opposed to 6 hours for the Super Tucano.

Fire support:
The M1111 and laser guided artillery vs CAS. When FOBs are attacked, jets may be called in, but it’s cheaper, faster and just as effective to use lasers from the FOB to guide shells to the targets even if small drones launched from the FOBs have to be launched to get guys hiding behinde a ridge line. The Germans even have the Wiesel mortar system which can quickly start shooting at the enemy using a computerized targeting system.

The amphibious assault ship vs the aircraft carrier. Although the aircraft carrier is useful in fighting countries with a lot of weapons, the number of missions where an aircraft carrier, rather than an amphibious assult ship, is drastically dropping.

Ethenol vs oil. Right now the cost of fuel in Afghanistan is about $400 per gallon. With ethenol, all those marajuna plants and poppies could have been turned into fuel. It would have been a win win for the troops and Afghan farmers while a loss to the Tailban.


Of course the upside to the UAV vs. manned aircraft is also obvious…the absence of potential POW leverage and/or MIA or body bag candidate which carry a high political cost in the US.

Nothing against the Tucano, it’s a proven airframe…but when evaluating the CBA of a particular weapons system it goes a long way to include all costs and potential liabilities of using it instead of drilling down to the dollar sign.

The USN is already working on a low-cost laser guidance variant of the Hyrda-70 (see the APKWS program) — with the loss of the JCM program we’ll have Hellfire’s around for some more years to come…unless something comes of the JAGM program (or it suffers the same fate as the JCM.)

Carriers and Amphibious Assault Ships serve entirely different roles/scopes, they do not equate.

I agree that the use of smart munitions (like the XM-25 system does) should be the way to go on the future battlefield.

The Super Tucano has a better safety record than the helicopters that flew in Afghanistan and Iraq. Helicopter crews can become POWs too. They are also far less likely to fall out of the sky like drones. The Super Tucano would be good for providing CAS over friendly areas such as patrols and FOBs and escorting the V-22s and CH-47s which are too fast for the Apache. I’m not saying the Super Tucano would be used to spy on Iran or to launch attacks behind enemy lines even though they have been used to attack targets behind enemy lines.

The U.S. has 11 active aircraft carriers plus 6 allied aircraft carriers. The U.S. also has 71 submarines meant to sink navies that no longer exist. The number of hostile countries that might require massive force are Syria and Iran. China has already said it would use nuclear weapons if it is attacked by the U.S. and North Korea is an unoffical state of China. An attack on North Korea would be considered an attack on China. Anti terrorism, anti piracy and humanitarian aid can be handled by amphibious assault ships.

@Gregory_Dittman: Thanks – interesting and enlightening commentary; though I would completely disagree on the ethanol issue. It is a decidedly lousy fuel compared to gasoline or diesel and far more trouble than it is worth in that regard.


When a Tucano can hover, then maybe we’ll talk. The fact is the USAF already picked up a Tucano contract recently as a light COIN aircraft — but don’t expect to see fleets of them replacing an assort of aircraft in other roles.

Your assessment/assumptions of the threats, responses and realities in your second paragraph are…misinformed.

My son, in Afghanistan, made the same comments about the rental vehicles and unused Humvees.
I didn’t realize, though, that there were so many humvees sitting in class VII turn-in yards there. Seems that since they’ll not be used for combat purposes any more, and we probably won’t be bringing them home, it would only be sensible to use them for within-FOB transport. And since they’re paid for, and they are plentiful, let them be signed out like transportation motor pool vehicles (a command policy decision that would remove the MTOE problem). And if your TMP humvee breaks, just replace it with another from the CL VII turn-in yard. Or get some shadetree mechanic to cannibalize parts to keep the remaining ones running. Until they’re all used up.
Seems sensible. Hence, will never happen.
Merry Christmas, all.

good idea, from what I understood,
and why not give it to the soldiers who want to bring it back to AMERICA as a keepsake,
to get it back in shape to roll right in this country, that would certainly give them a hobby as soon as they get back and would help the mind to heal on terrible vision they encountered and are still print loud in their minds, why not, why not

@Gregory_Dittman: You make it sound like the goal is actually saving money, when the reality is that for many of the companies involved the goal is to extract as much money as possible from defense contracts. They’d look at your proposals and use whatever influence they had to stop them.

@ThomNJ: #14
I haven’t been following your discoution on ethanol, but if you take away the MILLIONS of dollars each state subsidizes the ethanol industry, it would cost a lot more than gasoline, and it has raised the price of corn a lot. Something only the farmers ain’t complaining about.

@Dan: #16
If you donate enough money to Obama and other democrats, I am sure they will do as you ask. You have to remember that in TODAY’S politics, it’s not what is the right thing to do, it is what will bring them in the most money. This is true with republicans too. We need to get rid of ALL of them and start over.

If I may say so, stick to getting rid of the one in the suit, and the CANDIDATES
need not to be more destitute than they have been from both sides, they are in republican land to be running for PRESIDENT, and we just have to focus on the FALL OF DEMOCRATS, it is a enough job
to do is show them bare as they show the CANDIDATES with the wrong label.
we cannot scatherd our crumbs, we will lose our way back if we do. who said that?

@ilovebeeswarzone: #21
This is why I say that this election we need to put republicans in office, then replace all but a few of them from then on. If you think the republicans have the taxpayer’s best interest at heart, when they had both houses of congress and the presidency, they could have stopped the illegals, ended pork barel spending, put in a balanced budget amendment, started paying off the national debt instead of letting the interest keep increasing the amount, put Social Security in an interest drawing account that would only go to those who paid into it like it was when it was first created, cut their huge benefit package, and lots of other things, but they chose not to.

all over the midwest, hope it change soon.

I’m back from the future here, SEPTEMBER 3 IN 2012,