The Obama Administration’s love of wasteful spending is, perhaps, only equal to their hatred for all things firearm-related. For the last few years, multiple sites have reported about the federal government’s purchase of millions of rounds of ammunition. However, the Pentagon now plans to destroy $1.2 billion worth of ammunition simply because they do not keep adequate purchase records.
Or so they say…
According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the Department of Defense does not keep proper inventory records, so they claim that they cannot ascertain which rounds are viable and which rounds may have degraded since purchase.
Democrat Senator Tom Carper and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee stated,
“There is a huge opportunity to save millions, if not billions of dollars if the [Pentagon] can make some common-sense improvements to how it manages ammunition. Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy and Air Force still don’t have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets. This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report clearly shows that our military’s antiquated systems lead to millions of dollars in wasteful ammunition purchases.”
The report labels the waste as being valued at about $1.2 billion, but it could be more.
Other key findings from the report:• The services have inventory systems for ammunition that cannot share data directly despite working for decades to develop a single database. Only the Army uses the standard Pentagon format; “the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps operate with formats that are obsolete.”• The services hold an annual conference to share information about surplus ammunition and swap bullets and other munitions as needed. Data about ammunition left over after the meeting disappears from the books, resulting in an unknown amount of good bullets headed to the scrap heap.• The Army, although required by regulation, had not reported annually on its missile stockpile until last month, shortly before the GAO study was to be released.The report illustrates the obsolete nature of the Pentagon’s inventory systems for ammunition. A request for ammunition from the Marine Corps, for example, is e-mailed to the Army. The e-mail is printed out and manually retyped into the Army system because the services cannot share data directly. Not only is this time consuming, but it can introduce errors — by an incorrect keystroke, for example.
The result of this destruction of ammunition not only signifies the presence of an absurd, redundant bureaucracy, but might also signify a concerted effort by the government to drive up the price of ammunition by making it scarcer.
Just days ago, the U.S. Postal Service announced that they are looking for distributors to sell them assorted small arms ammunition. Last year, the Social Security Administration purchased 174,000 rounds of .357 jacketed hollow-point bullets. The Department of Agriculture requested 320,000 rounds and recently, the Department of Homeland Security requested 450 million rounds and the FBI requested 100 million rounds.
Even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration got in on the action and requested 46,000 rounds. Why a weather service needs ammunition remains unclear.
Whether intentional or not, the byproduct of these ammo purchases means less ammunition on the shelves of stores, less ammunition in the hands of civilians and higher costs for those lucky enough to find ammunition.
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz , recently noted that the DHS is purchasing enough ammunition to allow for each person to use roughly 1,000 more rounds of ammo per person than the U.S. Army. “It is entirely … inexplicable why the Department of Homeland Security needs so much ammunition,” said Chaffetz.