U.S. War Zone Commanders Spend Billion Dollars a Year in Cash

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Cash payments in Afghanistan (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Lawmakers in Congress are beginning to grow concerned over the amount of cash being distributed by American military commanders in war zones. Provided so the military can make friends with local citizens and help struggling economies, the amount of appropriated for the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) is now more than $1 billion a year.

But how that money is spent is unclear, as generals have not been forced so far to account for all their CERP expenditures. That could change if Congress forces the Department of Defense to create better oversight of who is getting how much in Afghanistan and Iraq. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is resisting such a requirement.
“Even with improved execution and oversight, it is unrealistic to expect a tool like CERP – whose very effectiveness is tied to its flexibility and the discretion granted to local commanders in a war zone–to attain a zero-defect standard,” Gates told a congressional committee.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Oversight Sought for Battlefield 'Bags of Cash' in Iraq, Afghanistan (by Gordon Lubold, Christian Science Monitor)
The GI's Weapon of Choice in Iraq: Dollars (by Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor)


nick dixon 14 years ago
What with McChrystal having ordereed our troops to safeguard the myriad fields of opium poppies to make certain they make it to harvest, it is quite possible he ahd Gates are using the billion dollars to buy scag in bulk. This would not only please the locals, but would further pad the commondantes' already bloated retirement fund.
minglewod 14 years ago
Imagine the skids full of fresh $100 bills being off-loaded at Afganny airfields. Bizarre.

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