Inventory Management:

Handheld Missiles Are Vulnerable to Theft and Undetected Losses

NSIAD-94-100: Published: Sep 16, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO inventoried the military services' handheld missiles and compared its count with the services' inventory records.

GAO found that: (1) there are many serious discrepancies in the quantities, locations, and serial numbers of Category I missiles inventoried, which indicates that the services' oversight and recordkeeping for the missiles is poor; (2) the loss of control over these missiles during the Persian Gulf War was due to relaxed regulations, the desire to expedite deployment and return of troops, and the failure to keep records; (3) the services do not know how many missiles they should have in their possession because they lack systems to track the missiles by serial number; (4) physical counts differ from inventory records by thousands of missiles; (5) the Navy and Marine Corps are currently performing an inventory of their missiles by serial number and the Army is working to establish an inventory control system based on serial numbers; (6) 40 percent of missile storage sites do not have accurate data on the quantity and serial numbers of their on-hand inventories; (7) the services do not uniformly apply physical security measures at missile storage sites; and (8) although no alleged theft of missiles has been confirmed, poor recordkeeping makes detection almost impossible.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: All services have agreed to inspect all trucks leaving munitions areas.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to reemphasize employee security procedures so that they are consistently and uniformly applied to all individuals entering and leaving missile storage areas.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD process has changed to reflect these changes.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to establish procedures to include a random sampling of missile containers during inventories to ensure that they contain missiles.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The DOD process has changed to reflect these changes.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to establish procedures to track, document, and report additions to and deletions from these new inventory baselines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A worldwide inventory was completed in early 1995.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to conduct independent worldwide inventories of Category I missiles by serial number to establish an accurate baseline of existing missiles.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A worldwide inventory was completed in early 1995.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to authorize Category I missile oversight organizations to enforce missile reporting requirements and to conduct unscheduled independent inventories at depot, post, base, or unit level missile storage sites.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: All services have agreed to inspect all trucks leaving munitions areas.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to reexamine the current security policy that permits less than full inspection of vehicles, such as trash trucks, that could easily conceal missiles when leaving ammunition storage areas.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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