Fraud, Waste and Abuse
Have you ever met someone with entirely too much time on their hands? They appear to be overly stressed out about the tiniest things that do not matter. Instead of taking the time to apply a little common sense, they hone in on some obscure rule that never made sense in the first place, and then try to enforce it to the fullest extent.
Yesterday’s shit storm began when several higher ranking members of my unit went to the chow hall for lunch. They drove their assigned non-tactical vehicle, and when they came out of the chow hall they saw their vehicles had been booted. Yes, I mean booted, like when you park in a handicap space, or you have too many outstanding tickets.
Higher was in the parking lot along with the MPs, booting vehicles for violating several Army regulations, including AR 58-1, AR 215-1, Army Directive 2007-01 and some other shit I’ve never actually read. According to these regulations, you are not permitted to drive your military vehicle to a chow hall because it is not official business. You are also not permitted to drive your military vehicle to your home of residence, either. When I say military vehicle, I don’t mean a 5-ton or some shit. I mean, like, a GSA van or some other normal car that is assigned to the government. Apparently, there is some rule called duty to domicile, and when you drive to the chow hall, you’re just wrong. According to an email sent ALCON, it’s “fraud, waste and abuse.”
So, you know, maybe if I was back home in the States and I was driving my government vehicle up to New York to see my parents, or I’m using a government credit card to buy fuel for my privately owned vehicle while I gallivant across the United States. That’s definitely some fraud, waste and abuse; but here, on deployment? Yeah, please get out of my face with that shit.
The higher-ranking individuals from my unit questioned Higher and his crew of MPs. They asked how they were supposed to get to chow. Higher said, “Take the bus.”
What if the bus is full?
Well, wait till the next one.
What about that one?
There will be another one.
It’s a little bit idiotic because the buses are always full. One day last week all of the buses were cancelled. Someone made an announcement over the Big Voice that the buses would be delayed until further notice. The announcement started around 8 in the morning and went until the afternoon. So, I guess I’ll tell my boss I can’t come to work because there’s no bus.
I wonder why they assigned so many vehicles out in the first place, if they did not want anybody actually driving them. I won’t say how many Soldiers are in my unit, and I won’t say how many vehicles we have but we have enough to ensure our Soldiers can get to work and to chow, which to me, is official business. I’m not driving them to McDonald’s and shit. We take them to the chow hall at a set time every day and we bring their asses back to work. Generally, we’re not making PX runs or cruising around this godforsaken base. Contrary to popular belief, we do have work to do. If they didn’t want us driving the vehicles, why’d they give them to us? It would have made more sense that only one or two vehicles were assigned to each unit, and everyone would have to share those vehicles to conduct official business only.
I fail to understand these people actually want my colonel to get on a bus to get his lunch every day. You end up wasting a lot of time fucking around with these buses. My unit is larger than the capacity of a bus so we’d be out there all day waiting on a fucking bus to get to chow.
If we weren’t supposed to drive these to our “residences,” then why does Higher have an assigned parking space in front of the officer living quarters? Why are the MPs driving to chow? That’s not official business. There are assigned MP spaces in front of the chow hall. Why isn’t there a sign that says, No NTV parking in front of the chow hall? Why is there a parking lot at the PX, if you don’t want anyone to park there? You could say Soldiers were going to finance since they are co-located but you wouldn’t need a Wal-Mart sized parking lot for that. Why is there parking at any of the living areas?
WHY IS THERE PARKING AT THE CHOW HALL?
According to this policy it applies to contractors, civilians and military personnel.
Higher must be bored. He did not have anything else to do that day but stand out in the parking lot in 110 degree heat looking for vehicles that shouldn’t be parked at the chow hall. Better still, the MPs didn’t have shit else to do today. SHARP incidents are down 100%. Suicide is down to zero. There hasn’t been any assault, robberies or terrorist attempts on this base at all. ISIS is dead. World peace has been solved.
There was an email that stated the MPs would be staged at both DFACs and the PX to make sure that no one was violating the rules. I already wrote about the MPs on this base. It seems their focus is speeding and parking violations, and not really on protection and safety. I want to get my hands on a police blotter to see what type of criminal activity is going on. Apparently, this is pure Pleasantville if the MPs don’t have shit else to do.
It’s really quite laughable they would talk about fraud, waste and abuse when the MPs here are sitting on Chargers and Mustangs. Seriously, this base is a few miles wide and a few miles long. The max speed anywhere on post is 40KPH. If no one is supposed to be driving anywhere why are there so many cops in high-octane vehicles? What high speed chases will they be conducting?
I love how the government is two-faced in these things. On one hand, government spending is out of control and we need to rein it in. On the other hand, we need all this super-high tech bullshit for no reason, so let’s drop some bills. If I had been in charge of the contract, the MP fleet would be sturdy SUVs that can off-road, since most of the roads are dirt. The MPs don’t have any jurisdiction outside the post so there’s no need to have sporty vehicles that are designed for performance. The MPs would also do a lot more patrolling and a lot less staging at DFACs looking for vehicles illegally parked. That would be the least of my concerns.
Apparently, it’s okay to drive to the MWR for Poker Night because it’s an installation sponsored MWR event, but you can’t take Soldiers to get lunch real quick so they can bring their asses back to work. Now I know why the Active Duty guys take two hours for lunch every day. It takes that long to get anywhere on the bus, because they’re sitting out waiting on a bus that isn’t full or delayed. If I drive to chow I can be back at my desk in 20 minutes. I go and get a to-go plate and return to my desk because there is work to do. Occasionally, we sit in, but that’s more of a luxury. If I had to walk to the chow hall, I’d be gone for at least an hour because I wouldn’t take out.
This was a situation that seemed difficult to fight. It’s hard to argue against sheer stupidity. Every logical argument you could present would be rebuffed with the utmost foolishness. Senior leadership did try to come up with an exception to policy but the regulation is written in such a fashion as not to be undone. Higher stated that all cars booted would remain so for a minimum of seven days. Also, the violators would have to go before the Chief of Staff and explain away their actions. Once again, these people at the highest echelons have nothing else to do with their time but listen to parking violations. That is something you assign to some petty judge somewhere in some lesser known circuit court. If I were a general, I would laugh if my staff came to me with such nonsense. Then I’d fire them all. My senior leadership showed amazing aplomb and they tried to deal with the situation as best they could but there’s no winning against stupid.
I suggest we adhere to this policy to its fullest capacity. No one drive anywhere. All Soldiers walk or wait for the bus. Spend hours sitting at the bus stop waiting for a bus. Walk three miles from one end of post to the other. Really, three miles isn’t that far. It should take you about 45 minutes if you’re walking at a normal pace. So, waste 45 minutes walking to chow. Sit down and have a good chow. Then take 45 minutes to walk back from chow. If you need to run an errand, ask your boss for permission then walk there. Take as much time as you need to walk there. If you are Zone 1, walk to the Zone 6 PX. If you work in Zone 6, walk to the Zone 2 chow hall.
This way, vehicles on the road are official business only. When you see a vehicle, immediately jump into the crosswalk and walk as slowly as possible as you can across the street. Problem solved.