Office of the Inspector General Audit of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Aviation Operations with the Department of Defense in Afghanistan AUDIT OF THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION'S AVIATION OPERATIONS WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IN AFGHANISTAN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2016 unpublished
In fiscal year 2008 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) expended nearly $8.6 million to purchase an ATR 42-500 aircraft (ATR 500) to support its counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense (DOD) agreed to modify the DEA's ATR 500 with surveillance equipment and other capabilities to conduct such operations in the combat environment of Afghanistan in what became known as the Global Discovery program. In addition, through five Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the
more » ... DOD, between fiscal years 2012 and 2015, the DEA received $29,080,137 from the DOD to support both the DEA's counternarcotics aviation operations in Afghanistan and the Global Discovery program. As of February 2015, the DEA had expended $10.1 million of this funding for the Global Discovery aircraft. The DOD has also expended an additional $67.9 million in DOD appropriated funds to modify the DEA's ATR 500 and to construct a hangar at the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan for the aircraft. Even though collectively the DEA and DOD have spent more than $86 million on the Global Discovery program, we found that, over 7 years after the aircraft was purchased for the program, the aircraft remains inoperable, resting on jacks, and has never actually flown in Afghanistan. The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an audit of the DEA's Global Discovery program and operations under the MOUs with the DOD based on a whistleblower complaint alleging that the DEA misused DOD funds by misdirecting, diverting, and spending them in areas not related to DEA's Afghanistan aviation operations. Our audit objectives were to assess the DEA's Global Discovery program and its compliance with the MOUs that the DEA entered into with the DOD for supporting DEA's aviation operations in Afghanistan. Our findings include the following:  The Global Discovery program began in September 2008 with the purchase of the ATR 500 and was originally intended to be completed in December 2012, but it has missed every intended delivery date that has been established. The program has cost almost four times its original anticipated amount of $22 million and the DEA's ATR 500 was still not operational as of March 2016.  The DEA did not fully comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and its own solicitation in purchasing the aircraft. Specifically, we found that the DEA did not ensure that legitimate needs were identified and trade-offs evaluated, as required by the FAR, to ensure that the aircraft being purchased met operational needs in the most cost-effective manner. As a result, the Aviation Division did not take into account, when purchasing the ATR 500, the time and cost it would incur to establish an infrastructure of pilots, mechanics, trainers, and spare parts required to operate the aircraft i compared to the cost of leveraging its existent fleet infrastructure.  The DEA also failed to evaluate, as required by the FAR, each bid received on all the factors it listed in its solicitation. Therefore, the DEA ultimately awarded a contract for the purchase of an aircraft that cost $3 million more than it had estimated, even though that aircraft potentially did not best meet the DEA's technical needs and performance requirements. Given these issues, we question the DEA's procurement of the aircraft for $8,572,638 because it did not fully adhere to federal acquisition regulations and was never used for the purposes for which it was procured. Our findings go beyond these fundamental flaws in the acquisition of the aircraft, and extend to the deficiencies in the handling of issues that arose as the Global Discovery program failed to move forward. These include the following:  In March 2012, the DEA transferred the ATR 500 to a DOD aircraft maintenance subcontractor with no formal record of the transfer of possession and without entering into an MOU with the DOD for the Global Discovery program. Without an MOU, the DEA has had difficulty ensuring that all agreed upon modifications were made and holding the DOD accountable for timely completion of the project.  In December 2012, while the Global Discovery program missed its initial delivery date, the DOD had awarded a contract in the amount of $1.9 million for a replacement hangar to be built for the DEA at Camp Alvarado, located at the Kabul International Airport, specifically to house the ATR 500. Yet, as the modifications continued, this hangar never housed the Global Discovery aircraft. In July 2015, the DEA removed its aviation operations from Afghanistan and the ATR 500 will most likely never be housed in the hangar.  By October 2014, the Global Discovery program had missed four more delivery dates and ran out of money. The DOD considered scrapping the aircraft because, while the DOD had already expended more than $65.9 million on the aircraft's modifications, an additional $6 million was required to repair damages observed during attempts to modify the aircraft. Yet, at that time, the market value of the ATR 500 was only $6 million.  DEA and DOD officials estimate that the ATR 500 will not be completed with all agreed upon modifications. For instance, a retractable camera system will be fix-mounted and a radar system will not be included in the modification to the aircraft as planned, leaving the DEA to arrange for its installation at a cost estimated at an additional $3 million.  As of March 2016, modification efforts remain on-going, and the most recent delivery date provided for an operable ATR 500 is June 2016. Our audit also questioned $2,461,401 in unallowable and unsupported expenditures charged by the DEA to three of the four MOUs with the DOD that were intended to support the DEA's two Beech King Air 350s operating in Afghanistan until the deployment of the Global Discovery ATR 500. Specifically, we found that the DEA charged $718,494 to the MOUs, including: (1) maintenance costs for one ii aircraft that never flew in Afghanistan and two more aircraft involved in DEA missions out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; (2) training for DEA and contract personnel who never went to Afghanistan; and (3) travel-related to missions in Port Au Prince, Haiti; the Bahamas; Lima, Peru; and Florida that was unrelated to the DEA's aviation operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, we determined that the DEA charged $78,208 to the MOUs in unsupported non-personnel costs. The DEA also diverted $1,664,699 in funds from these MOUs for maintenance of the Global Discovery ATR 500 aircraft, travel to oversee the Global Discovery program, and training for pilots and mechanics to fly the ATR 500. Since these MOUs were intended to support ongoing operations with the Beech King Air 350s prior to deployment of the ATR 500, the DEA's expenditures on the Global Discovery program are unallowable and, as previously stated, the ATR 500 has never been deployed or operated in Afghanistan. We found that the DEA did not ensure that the MOUs it entered into with the DOD contained clear objectives and deliverables. Therefore, it is not clear what the DEA was supposed to accomplish with its two aircraft in Afghanistan. In the absence of any established deliverables, we reviewed the DEA's quarterly reports submitted to the DOD of missions flown and missions declined and then compared them to the DEA's mission report data. We determined that for each of the 10 quarters we reviewed, the DEA inaccurately reported this information to the DOD. We also found that only 14 percent of the missions that the DEA flew in Afghanistan between October 2011 and February 2015 were for reconnaissance, surveillance, and intelligence, while 79 percent were for transporting personnel and equipment. Additionally, between February 2012 and January 2015, the DEA received more than 1,000 mission requests in Afghanistan that it could not fulfill and, at the DEA's request, between October 2011 and May 2015 the State Department flew 1,223 missions for general aviation support of DEA operations. We also determined that the only operational DEA surveillance aircraft had been removed from Afghanistan in October 2012, for approximately 8 months, without providing a substitute aircraft in Afghanistan, which further compounded the DEA's inability to provide aviation support. Without deliverables and an accurate method to track and report performance, the DEA was unable to determine if it was effectively meeting its operational needs and goals. However, based on the data available to us, our findings raise serious questions as to whether it was doing so. Finally, we have referred all findings relating to the DOD's oversight of the Global Discovery program to the DOD Office of Inspector General. We make 13 recommendations to the DEA to assist in improving its management and oversight of its MOUs for aviation operations and the Global Discovery program. iii