SIGAR Finds That ANSF Weapons SCIP Away from OVERLORD

I have been harping lately on the US approach to international crises being to first ask “Which group should we arm?” and how this strategy has come back countless times to bite us in the ass, as seen most spectacularly in Osama bin Laden. Further, in Afghanistan, the dual problems of failed training and insider attacks have demonstrated that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are ineffective and now even require a separate layer of security between them and US forces.

Back when there was a stronger push for the US to arm and train “moderates” in Syria, I noted the poor record-keeping that was being put into place, where we were being assured by those doing the training that they were getting handwritten receipts for the weapons they were handing out. Who could have known that in our much larger program of handing out weapons, in Afghanistan, that records were not much better? The 2010 NDAA required that DOD establish a program for accounting for weapons handed out in Afghanistan. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released a report today (pdf) on how that accounting has gone. And the answer is not pretty:

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 required that DOD establish a program for registering and monitoring the use of weapons transferred to the ANSF. However, controls over the accountability of small arms provided to the ANSF are insufficient both before and after the weapons are transferred. Accountability over these weapons within DOD prior to their transfer to Afghan ownership is affected by incompatible inventory systems that have missing serial numbers, inaccurate shipping and receiving dates, and duplicate records, that may result in missing weapons prior to transfer to the ANSF. However, the problems are far more severe after the weapons are transferred to the ANSF. ANSF record-keeping and inventory processes are poor and, in many cases, we were unable to conduct even basic inventory testing at the ANSF facilities we visited. Although CSTC-A has established end use monitoring procedures, the lack of adherence to these procedures, along with the lack of reliable weapons inventories, limits monitoring of weapons under Afghan control and reduces the ability to identify missing and unaccounted for weapons that could be used by insurgents to harm U.S., coalition, and ANSF personnel.

This graphic from the report shows the insanity of how three completely independent and incompatible databases are used to track the weapons:



Seriously, who comes up with these acronyms? The database used by the military in shipping the weapons out is the Security Cooperation Information Portal, or SCIP. This name seems designed to let us know up front that these weapons are skipping town and there is no prospect for tracking them. And to make sure they can’t be tracked, once they arrive in Afghanistan, the weapons are logged in, but they go into a completely different database incompatible with SCIP. In Afghanistan they use the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database, or OVERLORD. SIGAR tells us “SCIP is used by DOD personnel to track the shipment of weapons from the United States, while OVERLORD is used for tracking the receipt of weapons in Afghanistan. Errors and discrepancies often occur because these two systems are not linked to each other and require manual data entry.”

Perhaps if we were dealing with the relatively smaller number of weapons for an operation like our death squad training in Syria, manual entry into a database might make sense. But here is a photo from SIGAR of one of the weapons caches that they attempted to audit in Afghanistan:


But perhaps even worse is that SIGAR has found Afghan forces already have far more light weapons than they need. From the databases they determined that there are 112,909 weapons in excess of stated needs for the Afghans (and 83,184 of them are AK-47’s that many Afghans learn to handle practically from birth) already in country.

As if that is not enough, more weapons will keep flowing even though ANSF force size is projected to shrink:

The problems posed by the lack of a fully functional weapons registration and monitoring program may increase as plans to reduce the total number of ANSF personnel proceed. According to our analysis, the ANSF already has over 112,000 weapons that exceed its current requirements. The scheduled reduction in ANSF personnel to 228,500 by 2017 is likely to result in an even greater number of excess weapons. Yet, DOD continues to provide ANSF with weapons based on the ANSF force strength of 352,000 and has no plans to stop providing weapons to the ANSF. Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents, which will pose additional risks to U.S. personnel, the ANSF, and Afghan civilians.

What could possibly go wrong?

12 replies
  1. Pete says:

    Another acronym: MIC. As in how much the MIC lobbies to sell weapons using taxpayer dollars regardless of the need.

    And may I suggest a couple other databases.

    1) One that tracks how many said weapons come back to be used on US – as in USA – to kill/maim in godforsaken hell holes around the world.

    2) One that tracks use of said weapons on innocent civilians caught up in US sponsored clusterf*cks in same godforsaken hell holes around the world.


  2. wallace says:

    quote”Seriously, who comes up with these acronyms? “unquote

    BOBA(the Bureau of Baffling Acronyms)

    quote”This name seems designed to let us know up front that these weapons are skipping town and there is no prospect for tracking them. “unquote

    Yes. It was designed that way by virtue of CIA SOP for SCIP SALE (Secret Afghan Lateral Economy) to make billions in trade for AOC (Afghan Opium Crop) for quadrupling CIA FAF (financial asset fronts) to fund SGO(Sovereign Government Overthrows) and TARF(torture agents retirement funds).

    quote”As if that is not enough, more weapons will keep flowing even though ANSF force size is projected to shrink:”unquote

    Yes, SOP requires continual Congressional SSP(Seriously Stupid People) on oversight committees, and DODD’s(Dept. of Defense Dummys)to insure the IFF(Internal Flow Funding) of cash and weapons.

    sheezush..if stupidity were weather..these fuckers would be a 5.9 hurricane.

  3. Don Bacon says:

    Afghan soldiers carry M-16 rifles; real fighters in Afghanistan carry AK-47’s. But hey, if they’re free–
    Dec 2013 news report:
    The AK-47’s price (on the black market), has come significantly down, as the country’s gun culture began fattening itself with American pistols and rifles stolen from Nato trucks that load weapons and other products for Nato soldiers in Afghanistan from the Karachi port.

  4. Don Bacon says:

    Mark Thompson at TIME got on it:
    Afghanistan: Awash in Guns, as Well as Narcotics
    “U.S.-supplied weapons like these M-16s in Kandahar, Afghanistan, often lack proper accounting by both U.S. and Afghan authorities, according to a new investigation SIGAR
    Contrary to law, U.S. military lacks data on nearly half the weapons delivered.”
    Apparently there are AK-47s involved,as well as other desirable weapons.
    “We’re not talking just handguns and M-16s and AK-47s,” Sopko told TIME correspondents over lunch on Friday. “We’re talking some high-powered stuff — grenade launchers, RPGs, machine guns — anything that one person could use.”
    Hey, the US armed IS which took over a large part of Iraq, why not arm Taliban also? –consistency

    • wallace says:

      quote”Hey, the US armed IS which took over a large part of Iraq, why not arm Taliban also? –consistency”unquote

      shhhsh. The #big plan is hush hush. Don’t go spillin beans. Re-uping Afgan war = Prime Directive for MIC. Between Iraq/Afghan/Syria 4thQ lookin real good. Time for high 5’s and $1k bottles of champagne at the top of Burj Kahlifa.

      • Don Bacon says:

        You mean I’m misinformed about the US arming “terrorists” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya? Or is it that I’ve just forgotten to mention other places including Yemen and Somalia…heh
        The US absolutely must have a continuation of the war in Afghanistan in order to justify a continued military presence. Afghanistan is the keystone to the long-running New Silk Road strategy.
        The US “New Silk Road concept has a history that goes back at least to the “Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999.” This idea was probably one of the prime strategic motivators for the US involvement in Afghanistan, which is the keystone to Central Asia from the south.
        There has been a significant infusion of soft power by the US in Central Asia, particularly involving Kazakhstan, including USAID and US chambers of commerce, but geographical access is a problem.
        Alas, any new silk road from the Arabian Sea, which would have to be the US entry point, must go through either Pakistan or Iran, most conveniently the latter, and the US has botched relations with both, as well as thoroughly destabilizing Afghanistan.
        So no new silk road for the US, it’s a victim of US incompetence. But the US will go in that direction anyhow.
        There’s also the TAPI pipeline, an early impetus for the latest US involvement in Afghanistan.
        Jul 18, 2014
        Afghanistan signs operational agreement on TAPI gas pipeline
        An operational agreement was signed on Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.
        The has successfully halted work on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, which further enables TAPI. Pakistan desperately needs energy from natural gas.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    It’s a road show, coming soon to Kabul (date to be announced):
    –Iraq Travel Warning (June 11, 2014)
    –US evacuating Baghdad embassy staff as Islamic militants ramp up attacks (Jun 15, 2014)
    –US Evacuates Embassy In Libya (Jul 26, 2014)
    Would the US just grin and bear it, as in Libya and Iraq (so far)?

  6. seedeevee says:

    ““Which group should we arm?” and how this strategy has come back countless times to bite us in the ass, as seen most spectacularly in Osama bin Laden.”

    My favorite is when we made Japan open up and join the “modern” world — Perry’s Black Fleet, 1853. Japan was defeating Imperial Russia within 50 years, had it’s own colonies and was expecting to receive equal treatment.

    Seems that we are encouraging the non-pacifist members of Japan’s ruling elite again . . . , etc.

  7. Garrett says:

    A lot of the reporting emphasis is on the fear of unaccounted-for weapons falling into the hands of insurgents.

    Weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers could wind up in the hands of insurgents and be used to kill Americans and Afghan troops and civilians.

    Which is missing the part about how Afghanistan is on the brink of civil war between U.S. aligned and supported factions. From the election mess, but also having much deeper roots than that.

  8. Don Bacon says:

    Yes, deeper roots, because Afghanistan is essentially an 18th-century tribal area and it is not an area which can be governed by a so-called capital city.
    The people in the hinterlands have their own allegiances, and what they definitely don’t need is some bureaucrats from Kabul to come in on the new paved highway and collect taxes from them.
    “A code of honour not less punctilious than that of old Spain, is supported by vendettas as implacable as those of Corsica. . . .. Then the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day: when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet.
    “And the young men hearing these things will grip their Martinis [British rifle], and pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some Sahib[Brit] — best prize of all — across their line of sight at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam.” — Winston Churchill, journalist, 1897, aged 23

  9. Don Bacon says:

    It’s an oldie but goodie from Gertrude Bell, the ‘founder of modern Iraq,’ 1920:
    “In the light of the events of the last two months there’s no getting out of the conclusion that we have made an immense failure here. The system must have been far more at fault than anything that I or anyone else suspected. It will have to be fundamentally changed and what that may mean exactly I don’t know. I suppose we have underestimated the fact that this country is really an inchoate mass of tribes which can’t as yet be reduced to any system.”
    And Iraq is (was) much more advanced that Afghanistan. and topographically much more moderate.

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