Afghan resettlement exceeded $620 million at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

As of Jan. 5, the resettlement of Afghan evacuees at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey has price taxpayers a minimum of $626 million because the effort started again in August 2021, says a brand new Protection Division report.

The bottom is one among eight home navy bases accountable for resettling greater than 75,000 Afghan evacuees within the U.S.

The report, launched Feb. 2, says that the set up has incurred some $625 million in prices related to “base operations help providers contracts.” This contains roughly 500 contractor personnel accountable for “offering acute medical care” to the Afghan evacuee inhabitants. The remaining $1.5 million was spent on objects that instantly help the mission of evacuee resettlement, equivalent to “workplace provides, flashlights, security vests, and winterization efforts.”

In the beginning of the Afghan evacuation, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst was initially alleged to host solely 3,500 Afghan evacuees. Nonetheless, on Sept. 1, it had expanded operations to accommodate 13,000 evacuees. By mid-November, the report states, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst had acquired 13,889 Afghans in search of a brand new life within the U.S. As of Nov. 20, 3,068 Afghan evacuees had departed Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Of those, 1,154 “departed voluntarily” with out finishing the resettlement course of, whereas one other 1,914 departed after finishing the resettlement course of.

Moreover, the Division of Homeland Safety introduced on Feb. 2 the completion of resettlement operations situated at Fort Pickett, Va. In keeping with a DHS launch, greater than 10,300 Afghans had been efficiently resettled from Fort Pickett earlier than operations concluded. Total, greater than 68,000 Afghan evacuees have been efficiently resettled within the U.S. since operations started.

In November, Fort Lee in Virginia turned the primary home navy base to be a vacation spot for Afghans in search of resettlement, efficiently resettled greater than 3,000 Afghans in roughly three months.

Neither DHS nor D0D instantly responded to questions relating to the monetary price of resettlement operations.

Marine Corps Base Quantico concluded its resettlement program on the finish of December when the final of three,755 Afghans left the set up. A DoD Investigator Common report famous that the resettlement price that set up an estimated $188.4 million whereas it struggled to maintain monitor of evacuees.

The Marines, based on the December IG report, “relied on Afghan leaders and interagency companions to tell the command when people went lacking or didn’t present up for scheduled appointments.”

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has not skilled comparable points and has applied accountability measures from day one. These embrace a wristband for every evacuee and a database that retains monitor of data starting from passport numbers and images to the room that evacuees are assigned.

In keeping with DHS, there are nonetheless 7,000 Afghans within the resettlement course of, unfold between Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

As 120,000 individuals had been flown to security from Afghanistan over the last two weeks of August, DoD, on the request of the State Division, offered each home navy bases to quickly home Afghans fleeing a Taliban takeover of the nation. Dubbed “Operation Allies Welcome,” the interagency effort has regularly moved greater than 75,000 Afghans by a community of home and worldwide DOD bases in the direction of the objective of resettling them within the U.S.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst was chosen, based on the report, as a result of its location is just an hour from a Philadelphia Worldwide Airport, which serves as a major level of arrival for Afghan evacuees heading to the U.S.

In keeping with the report, Officers at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst anticipate that as resettlement operations proceed to wind down, they are going to be consolidated aboard their set up. Will probably be the final base with the mission of settling Afghan evacuees.

James R. Webb is a speedy response reporter for Navy Instances. He served as a US Marine infantryman in Iraq. Moreover, he has labored as a Legislative Assistant within the US Senate and as an embedded photographer in Afghanistan.