The Pentagon is set to destroy over $1 billion worth of ammo, USA Today reports. However, the details surrounding the plan are sketchy and it’s unclear how much of the bullets and missiles are still usable, leading to a “potential waste of unknown value,” the report adds.
Citing a Government Accountability Office report and government officials, USA Today reports the Pentagon currently oversees an ammunition stockpile worth about $70 billion. Due to an inefficient reporting system, it’s impossible to know how much of “excess” ammunition could potentially be used by troops.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) reportedly called for “common-sense improvements to how [the Pentagon] manages ammunition.” At the end of the day, the Pentagon can’t “afford this type of waste and ineffectiveness,” he said.
“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,” Carper added.
USA Today provides some key findings from the GAO 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.
Former U.S. Congressman Allen West slammed the Pentagon over the GAO report in a post on his website, arguing the nation needs “more men and women serving on Capitol Hill who have served in uniform.”
He also questioned the notion of “excess ammunition.”
“Excess ammunition? We were begging for excess ammunition for training purposes,” he writes. “And I recall on several occasions when I was an Army exchange officer with the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune working out some issues on ammunition transfer and training between XVIIIth Airborne Corps, Ft. Bragg. So what is this baloney?”
In a statement, both the Army and Pentagon reportedly admitted that the government needs to “automate the process” and give more attention to similar issues when formulating future budgets.
Featured image via AP