According to the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, those conflicts have been cesspools of financial mismanagement. The commission says between $31 billion and $60 billion of the total $206 billion in war-related contract spending has been burned in waste or fraud.
NPR cites the commission’s report (PDF), which says much of the misspending could have been avoided, and that continued mismanagement “will undercut the effectiveness of money spent in future operations.”
Among the causes to which the commission attributed the money burning were poor planning and oversight, unsatisfactory performance by contractors, criminal behavior and blatant corruption. The commission recommends the government create an office of inspector general for contingency operations to monitor future projects.