- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gene Aloise, deputy special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told a gathering of federal watchdogs Wednesday that their oversight of government is crucial and is producing real results.

“People, companies and agencies need to be held seriously accountable for stupid decisions, dereliction of duty, corrupt behavior and subpar performance,” he said. “Otherwise, we simply foster the expectation that additional waste, fraud and abuse will be tolerated.”

Speaking at the annual conference of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, Mr. Aloise pointed to his agency’s investigation of the $104 billion that the U.S. has spent rebuilding Afghanistan.

He said some contractors weren’t properly installing countermeasures to protect coalition troops against improvised explosive devices, but quick corrective military action might have saved many lives.

Mr. Aloise said the military’s contracting process may be letting in businesses that aid terrorists.

His agency identified 43 cases of Afghanistan contractors labeled by the military as “actively supporting the insurgency,” but the Army’s suspension and debarment officers “decided that these designations were not adequate grounds for suspension or debarment and rejected all 43 cases,” he said.

“We do not understand why the Army permits deadly enemies and their sympathizers to get federal dollars which can be used to buy the means to kill our troops,” Mr. Aloise said.

The U.S. must scrutinize the lessons learned in Afghanistan if it hopes to avoid mistakes in the future, he said.

“It is clear that reconstruction progress needs to be measured in realistic and useful ways,” Mr. Aloise said. “If we are going to learn anything from the reconstruction experience, we need to have accurate assessments of the proximate cause of both successes and failures.”

Once any investigation has been completed, Mr. Aloise said, it’s important to alert the public, spur action and deter fraud. Publicity, however, is not meant to give personal glory to the investigators, he said.

“Neither [Inspector General John Sopko] nor I are angling for another government job, movie role, book advance or trying to become the next YouTube sensation,” Mr. Aloise said.