Ammunition And Explosives:

Improved Controls Are Needed to Reduce Thefts at Fort Bragg and Camp Pendleton

NSIAD-89-3: Published: Nov 22, 1988. Publicly Released: Dec 28, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) evaluated the effectiveness of Camp Pendleton's controls over ammunition and explosives (A&E) and combat gear; and (2) compared Camp Pendleton's A&E controls with those at Fort Bragg.

GAO found that, while Camp Pendleton recently strengthened A&E inventory controls in response to recent thefts: (1) its ordnance office did not maintain accurate A&E accounting records for its training exercises or reduce account balances when it approved requisitions; (2) it did not use its inspection results to enforce compliance with A&E policies and procedures; (3) it did not conduct routine or thorough inspections of training areas or personnel after exercises; (4) its ammunition supply point (ASP) did not always obtain legible signatures for the delegation-of-authority cards which personnel used to obtain A&E; and (5) it did not sufficiently emphasize A&E control procedures and responsibilities in its range safety officer certification course. GAO also found that Fort Bragg: (1) improved several A&E inventory control problems identified in 1986; (2) discouraged return of A&E through a time-consuming, easily circumvented, infrequently operated ammunition reconciliation process; (3) prolonged unit possession of A&E by operating a holding area for temporary A&E storage; (4) recovered some A&E through its amnesty program, which allowed personnel to turn in A&E without reprisal; (5) increased its number of compliance inspections, although its noncompliance rate remained constant; and (6) did not use the results of its quality assurance specialists and ammunition surveillance inspection reports to enforce compliance with A&E policies and procedures.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, has already taken action to ensure range inspections are more thorough. The number of range inspectors has been increased from two to six. Increased emphasis has been placed on range inspections and physical searches.

    Recommendation: To strengthen control over A&E, the Commanding Officer, Camp Pendleton, should ensure that range inspections are more thorough and that Marines are regularly searched for A&E before they leave the ranges after training exercises.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps: Camp Pendleton, CA

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The General has taken action to ensure compliance with A&E procedures.

    Recommendation: To strengthen control over A&E, the Commanding Officer, Camp Pendleton, should ensure that the base's procedures for controlling A&E are complied with.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps: Camp Pendleton, CA

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commanding General has taken action to have his ordnance office update the units A&E account when requisitions are approved.

    Recommendation: To strengthen control over A&E, the Commanding Officer, Camp Pendleton, should require the Marine Corps Base Command's ordnance office to update its units' A&E account balances when their requisitions are approved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps: Camp Pendleton, CA

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commanding General has acted to increase the scrutiny over preparation of the delegation-of-authority cards. All cards on file now have been reviewed and new cards obtained for those that contained illegible signatures.

    Recommendation: To strengthen control over A&E, the Commanding Officer, Camp Pendleton, should require that the delegation-of-authority cards be monitored more closely to ensure that legible signatures are obtained.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps: Camp Pendleton, CA

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commanding General has taken action to improve the range safety officer training course. Greater emphasis is placed on ensuring that individuals understand the role of the range safety officer as it pertains to A&E accountability.

    Recommendation: To strengthen control over A&E, the Commanding Officer, Camp Pendleton, should improve the range safety officer training course so that it emphasizes A&E accountability and provides guidance for certifying A&E expenditures on training ranges.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: United States Marine Corps: Camp Pendleton, CA

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army has eliminated the reconciliation of small-arms ammunition residue.

    Recommendation: To strengthen Fort Bragg's program for ensuring adequate controls over A&E, the Secretary of the Army should eliminate the reconciliation of small-arms ammunition residue.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Fort Bragg is making the necessary manpower available to modify ASP hours as needed.

    Recommendation: To strengthen Fort Bragg's program for ensuring adequate controls over A&E, the Commanding General, Fort Bragg, should expand ASP hours of operation to enable immediate return of unused A&E to its control.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Fort Bragg, NC

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 1988, the Commanding General, Fort Bragg, took action to reduce the frequency and elevate the authority required to use holding areas. Proper safeguards over ammunition and explosives will continue to be required when holding areas are used.

    Recommendation: To strengthen Fort Bragg's program for ensuring adequate controls over A&E, the Commanding General, Fort Bragg, should authorize the use of holding areas for A&E under unit control only when necessary for operational commitments and require that proper safeguards be applied to A&E when under such unit control.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Fort Bragg, NC

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Director of Logistics has been delegated the authority to monitor overall A&E accountability at Fort Bragg. Inspection results are documented weekly and forwarded to commanders for corrective action. Followup inspections are made to ensure deficiencies are corrected.

    Recommendation: To strengthen Fort Bragg's program for ensuring adequate controls over A&E, the Commanding General, Fort Bragg, should monitor the results of the quality assurance specialists and ammunition surveillance inspections and enforce compliance among those units and commands found to deviate from prescribed A&E regulations and procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Fort Bragg, NC

 

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