The news came out today that US Army General William "Kip" Ward is under investigation. General Bond is in charge of our Africa Command....based out of Stuttgart, Germany. The deal? Well....some folks have said that the General took some family folks along with him on some of these Africa trips, spent a heck of a lot of money on flights and hotels.
I lived out of Germany for a number of years and know the general travel costs of getting around. Nothing.....that has to do with Africa travel.....is cheap.
Even if you were sitting in Frankfurt, Germany....which has the most flights out to Africa of any European airport.....it doesn't help that much.
Once you arrive at your destination.....then comes the various rental vehicles. You figure the General travels with some entourage, so he needs at least five or six vehicles. They'd have to all be SUVs, so you can figure $2k a day just spent on vehicles along. Then comes gas prices at the country you are visiting. Toss in the per diem of each place you are going to.....probably $125 minimum for each person per day. Then there's the hotel issue. If you want a hotel with security and a real restaurant.....then it'll run $300 a day for the room for each person. Suddenly, a simple four-day trip out to one country in Africa is around $60k for the General and his entourage.
My humble guess is that a couple of guys will investigate and be rather shocked at the regular cost for anyone to move around Africa on twenty trips a year. The General's job? That's the interesting thing. He was supposed to go out and be seen as a positive figure in US military authority within Africa.
What happens now? I'm guessing the next couple of guys will write a couple of rules. No more than six trips a year into Africa. No real entourage other than three people. In five or six years.....some Senator will comment that the head of the Africa Command never seems to travel or be seen, and note this as a serious problem.
Full circle.....you got it.
So I feel sorry for the General. If you had to pick a place where travel costs are silly.....this is it. And the US made it a big deal to be seen and heard in the region.