> our title:

The Pentagon’s Half-Billion-Dollar Drone Boondoggle

> original title:

The Pentagon’s Half-Billion-Dollar Drone Boondoggle (excerpt)

(Source: First Look The Intercept; posted Aug. 12 2015)

By Sharon Weinberger

Rivalry between the Army and Air Force over Predator drones may have cost the Pentagon over $500 million in wasteful spending, according to a report released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The report, which the Pentagon’s Inspector General completed in 2010, is not available on the Defense Department’s public website, which instructs people to request it through the Freedom of Information Act. The Pentagon released a copy of the report to The Intercept this week, nearly five years after it was originally requested.

The report blasts both the Army and the Air Force for spending $115 million in 2008 and 2009 on research efforts that were supposed to help combine their Predator programs, in other words, to buy the same drone. Those efforts were “ineffective,” the report said, depriving the Pentagon of an estimated $400 million in savings that would have resulted.

The inability of military services to agree on a single aircraft or weapon is nothing new, but the report addresses one of the more high-profile conflicts between the Army and the Air Force in recent years. In 2008, then Defense Secretary Robert Gates rebuked the Air Force, saying it was like “pulling teeth” to get the service to contribute more drones to Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the Air Force was being criticized for not sending enough drones, the Army, in the meantime, was buying its own Predators under a program known as Sky Warrior. The Army’s encroachment on traditional Air Force territory set off a bitter turf war between the two services; Army commanders griped that the Air Force didn’t support ground troops, and the Air Force claimed the Army didn’t understand how to operate drones effectively. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the First Look website.

Click here for the full report (41 PDF pages) on the Document Cloud website.