Defense Inventory:

Control Weaknesses Leave Restricted and Hazardous Excess Property Vulnerable to Improper Use, Loss, and Theft

GAO-02-75: Published: Jan 25, 2002. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 2002.

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The Defense Department (DOD) encourages the reuse of excess property, including vehicles, weapons, hand tools, lumber, medical equipment, and furniture. DOD components, civilian federal agencies, and "special programs" have equal priority and first rights to excess property. This report discusses excess property issued to three of 12 special programs--the Military Affiliate Radio System, the Civil Air Patrol, and the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center. Between 1995 and 2000, these programs obtained $34 million worth of items that they were not eligible to receive. The three programs were able to obtain the items because the DOD facilities that store the property are not required to verify which items the programs are eligible to receive, and because program officials do not consistently follow applicable guidelines. GAO also noted that the programs' lists of property they are allowed to obtain are not comprehensive because the lists exclude mission-related items similar to those already permitted. Furthermore, these programs did not have reliable records for more than three-quarters of their excess property. Together, the three special programs obtained more than 80,000 hazardous supplies. In many cases, program officials were unaware that their programs had received such items. GAO found similar problems in other special programs. This lack of accountability increases the risk of mishandling excess property and the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense has indicated that the capability for validation tables to restrict issuances of items to the degree that the restrictions are called out in the legislation, has been established. The Department of Defense also noted that Directors and Managers of the various Special Programs have been informed of the validation capability and are responsible for determining where restrictions are authorized.

    Recommendation: For all programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to, as part of the Department's redesign of its activity code database, establish codes that identify the type of excess property--by federal supply class--and the quantity that each special program is eligible to obtain and provide accountable program officers access to appropriate information to identify any inconsistencies between what was approved and what was received.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense has indicated that the Military Affiliate Radio Systems program has reviewed its methods of acquiring, tracking, and disposing of excess property and any noted discrepancies have been corrected and internal policies implemented. In the case of the Navy-Marine Corps program, all Defense Reutilization and Marketing documentation is now listed under one address code.

    Recommendation: For all programs, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to reiterate policy stressing that Defense reutilization facility staff must notify special program officials of the specific tracking and handling requirements of hazardous items with military technology/applications.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense has indicated that the capability for validation tables to restrict issuances of items to the degree that the restrictions are called out in the legislation, has been established. The Department of Defense also noted that Directors and Managers of the various Special Programs have been informed of the validation capability and are responsible for determining where restrictions are authorized.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should ensure that accountable program officers within the Department verify, prior to approving the issuance of excess property, the eligibility of special programs to obtain specific types and amounts of property, including items that are hazardous or have military technology/applications. This could be accomplished, in part, through the Department's ongoing redesign of its activity code database.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the draft report, DOD agreed to revise its agreement with the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center to clarify the Center's financial responsibility for the cost of shipping excess property. As a result of the new proposed agreement, the Center signed an agreement to terminate their relationship with this program.

    Recommendation: With regard to the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to review and amend, as necessary, its agreement with the Center in regard to the Center's financial responsibility for the cost of shipping excess property obtained under the experimental project.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Military Affiliate Radio Systems program offices have reviewed their methods of acquiring, tracking, and disposal of excess property and all noted discrepancies have been corrected and internal policies implemented according to DOD documents.

    Recommendation: With regard to the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force Military Affiliate Radio Systems, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to have the Joint Staff Directorate for Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems review which items these systems are eligible to receive, on the basis of their mission and needs, and direct each of the Military Affiliate Radio Systems to accurately track excess property, including pilferable items, items with military technology/applications, and hazardous items.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: This recommendation is in process and is expected to be completed in late 2006 or early 2007.

    Recommendation: With regard to the Civil Air Patrol, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Air Force to have the Civil Air Patrol-Air Force review which items the Patrol is eligible to receive, on the basis of its mission and needs, and direct the Patrol to accurately track its excess property, including pilferable items, items with military technology/applications, and hazardous items.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the draft report, DOD agreed to revise its agreement with the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center to clarify the ancillary items the Center is eligible to receive. The 12th Regional Equipment Center did not agree with the new agreement with regard to the ancillary items the Center would be eligible to receive and therefore, the 12th Center signed an agreement to terminate their relationship with the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Recommendation: With regard to the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to review and amend, as necessary, its agreement with the Center in regard to the ancillary items the Center is eligible to receive.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the draft report, DOD agreed to revise its agreement with the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center to clarify the procedures the Center must follow to sell excess DOD property that it has obtained. The 12th Regional Equipment Center did not agree with the new agreement with regard to the ancillary items the Center would be eligible to receive and therefore, the 12th Center signed an agreement to terminate their relationship with the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Recommendation: With regard to the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to review and amend, as necessary, its agreement with the Center in regard to the rules concerning the sale of property and procedures for the Center to notify the Agency of all proposed sales of excess property.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the draft report, DOD agreed to revise its agreement with the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center to specify the Center's responsibilities for tracking hazardous items and items with a demilitarization requirement. The 12th Regional Equipment Center did not agree with the new agreement with regard to the ancillary items the Center would be eligible to receive and therefore, the 12th Center signed an agreement to terminate their relationship with the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Recommendation: With regard to the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to review and amend, as necessary, its agreement with the Center in regard to the Center's responsibility for tracking items having military technology/applications and hazardous items.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the draft report, DOD agreed to revise its agreement with the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center to outline procedures the Center must follow to obtain DOD approval of its excess property orders. The 12th Regional Equipment Center did not agree with the new agreement with regard to the ancillary items the Center would be eligible to receive and therefore, the 12th Center signed an agreement to terminate their relationship with the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Recommendation: With regard to the 12th Congressional Regional Equipment Center, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency to review and amend, as necessary, its agreement with the Center in regard to the need for Agency approval of the Center's orders for excess property.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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