Military Small Arms Parts:

Poor Controls Invite Widespread Theft

T-NSIAD-94-79: Published: Nov 18, 1993. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 1993.

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GAO discussed the Army's management of small arms parts at six Army and National Guard installations. GAO noted that: (1) as a result of its review, the Army has uncovered previously undetected thefts of small arms parts by a national guardsman at the Michigan Army National Guard; (2) military small arms parts are frequently and illegally sold at national gun shows, and are increasingly available to the public; (3) internal and inventory management controls at Army installations do not adequately protect against the theft of small arms parts; and (4) the Army's inventory control problems include inadequate facility and computer system security, inadequate separation of supply and repair duties, management failure to properly monitor supply and repair operations, insufficient reviews of repair parts requisitions, and inadequate documentation.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: All deficiencies at the three active Army sites at Forts Benning, Campbell, and Sill have either been fully corrected or the corrections are in process. All inventory management deficiencies identified at the three National Guard sites have also been corrected. The Army is in the process of validating corrections of all physical security weaknesses at the three National Guard sites. That assessment will be completed by the end of March 1994, and will include validation by the National Guard physical security office of each respective state.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that the deficiencies at the six sites are corrected.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Army systems are developed with DOD approval of requirements. As improved technology becomes available, better security features are added to minimize the potential for illegal manipulation of systems. When the Army Standard Automated Retail Supply System-1-Interim transitions to off-the-shelf hardware in the fourth quarter of FY 1994, the problems associated with system password control and automatic logoff will be corrected. Furthermore, the Small Arms Task Force's Business Action Plan, approved by the Army Vice Chief of Staff on December 6, 1994, recommended automation changes that would improve the management of ordering and controlling small arms parts. The Task Force will track and validate required actions taken by responsible agencies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that adequate checks and controls are built into the computer systems used for ordering and controlling retail-level repair parts.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army provided written guidance to Army major command provost marshals and the Chief, National Guard Bureau, reemphasizing the need for physical security inspections on installations with small arms repair activities. Compliance with physical security requirements was an element of the special inspection conducted by the Army Inspector General. Finally, in January 1994, the Army directed commanders to incorporate small arms parts surveillance into their command inspection program. The 70 recommendations of the recent Army IG special inspection need to be acted on. The small arms task force is preparing a comprehensive business action plan to be released soon.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct local commanders to reemphasize the importance of maintaining physical security over government property, including small arms parts, and ensure that minimum procedures are being followed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Significant efforts have been undertaken via a multi-disciplinary small arms task force (Army). A comprehensive business action plan is due for release soon, with monitoring planned by the task force. The Army issued a message directing commanders to enforce existing logistics and physical security policy on small arms parts. Inspections by the Army Inspector General assessed policy compliance in this area. The Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics Command Logistics Review Team has also made this area an item of special interest during its FY 1994 assistance visits to the field. The Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics also published a "stewardship alert" message highlighting the findings, recommendations, and corrective actions pertaining to the GAO report and emphasizing security and acocuntability of small arms parts.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to enforce the existing regulations governing small arms parts and other equipment at all levels of the supply and repair systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The review of the thoroughness and validity of the Financial Managers' Financial Integrity Act annual feeder statements by the 6 active Army and National Guard units specified in the GAO report has been completed by the Army. The National Guard Bureau concluded that feeder statements submitted by its 3 states were not thorough and provided adequate support for those conditions. This review, along with expanded reporting of the problem in the Army's FY 1993 Annual Statement and the ongoing efforts of the Small Arms Task Force, have resulted in an increased emphasis on the control of small arms parts in these 6 units, their parent organizations, and throughout the Army.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to examine the thoroughness and validity of the reports submitted under the Financial Integrity Act.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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