The Pentagon is planning to destroy more than $1 billion worth of ammo. The missiles and bullets purchased with taxpayer money could still be used by the troops, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published by USA Today.
The exact amount of ammunition and missiles scheduled to be destroyed by the Pentagon remains unknown; the federal agency merely valued the items at $1.2 billion. Defense Department inventory systems reportedly do not share data "effectively" with the various armed forces branches and federal law enforcement agencies. Since extra ammo and missiles not needed by one branch are largely unknown to other branches and agencies, they merely sit on shelves until unusable or in the road and are then destroyed, if the GAO report is accurate.
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) had this to say about the Pentagon $1 billion ammo dump:
"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 report clearly shows that our military's antiquated system lead to millions of dollars in wasteful ammunition purchases. We simply cannot afford this type of waste and ineffectiveness."Both the Pentagon and the Army acknowledged via a media statement that there is a "need to automate the process" and such a process will become a "priority in future budgets." The Pentagon reportedly oversees a conventional ammo stockpile worth approximately $70 billion. The GAO report comes on the heels of tax day and the Obamacare deadline. With millions of middle income Americans struggling to deal with higher insurance deductibles and tightening the household budget to pay Uncle Sam, the Pentagon's $1 billion ammo destruction plan will likely garner angst around the country.
GAO Report Key Findings
- The armed services inventor systems for ammo do not allow for direct data sharing between the different branches. Only the Army uses the same standardized format as the Pentagon. The Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force use 'obsolete' tracking formats.
- An annual conference between the military branches is conducted to share information about and swap surplus ammo and other munitions. Figures relating to the left over ammunition do not appear in an recorded form after the conference, resulting in an "unknown amount of good bullets" heading to the trash.
- The Army is mandated to report on its missile stockpile annually, but had not done so in quite some time until shortly before the GAO report deadline in March.
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