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.