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    Subject Term: Explosives

    8 publications with a total of 16 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If DHS's proposed CBRNE program consolidation is approved by Congress, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy to use, where appropriate, the key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in our previous work to help ensure that a CBRNE consolidated office benefits from lessons learned from other organizational transformations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in previous GAO work could benefit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if Congress approves the proposed CBRNE consolidation. As a result, we recommended that should Congress approve DHS's CBRNE consolidation plan, the department use key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in previous GAO work. In November 2016, DHS stated that while Congress had yet to authorize DHS's CBRNE reorganization proposal, DHS remained committed to evaluating GAO's identified practices when developing an implementation plan. We will update the status of this recommendation as additional information is made available.
    Director: Susan A. Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve PHMSA's oversight of the explosives classification process, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the PHMSA Administrator to develop and implement a systematic approach for improving the guidance PHMSA provides test labs.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: PHMSA concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. When we confirm what actions PHMSA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Diana C. Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to help ensure that ATF adheres to its policies and facilitates industry compliance with requirements, the Deputy Director of ATF should align the MS deletion policy, MS system design, and the timeliness of deletion practices to improve ATF's compliance with the policy.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2016, ATF reported that it deleted all purchaser names within those multiple sale records GAO identified as having been retained beyond time limits specified by ATF?s policy. In addition, ATF stated that it is in the process of implementing protocols to ensure that purging purchaser names within multiple sale records aligns with ATF policy. As of March 2017, ATF reported changing its query code to result in an improved match ratio with the MS system. In July 2017, ATF reiterated its deletion of affected purchaser names and its change in query code. However, given the longstanding nature of this issue, ATF needs to provide more documentation to demonstrate that the change in query code will identify all records eligible for deletion.
    Director: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' performance monitoring of counter-firearms trafficking activities, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should establish and document performance targets for the bureau's key counter-firearms trafficking activities in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
    Status: Open

    Comments: ATF concurred with this recommendation and stated that it plans to implement it. According to ATF officials, ATF has engaged in an overview of performance measures in Mexico and, when applicable, in Guatemala and Belize, and planned to implement a more structured annual system of performance targeting and evaluation for operations in these jurisdictions in fiscal year 2017. As of October 2017, we are continuing to follow up with ATF on its efforts to implement the new performance evaluation system.
    Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' performance monitoring of counter-firearms trafficking activities, the Secretary of State should work with other U.S. agencies and implementers to help ensure that quarterly progress reports identify key challenges and plans to address them.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of State concurred with this recommendation and stated that it planned to work with other agencies to implement it. State officials noted that the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau's quarterly reporting template for interagency partners currently contains a segment entitled "Problems or Challenges and Corrective Action Plan/Risk Identification Mitigation" in which the interagency partner is expected to detail any problems or challenges in implementing any of the program components and activities. State officials stated they will continue to remind interagency partners of this requirement and assist with correct completion of the reporting templates.
    Director: Jessica Farb
    Phone: (202) 512-6991

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective implementation of the strategic objective of the Weapons Chapter of the Strategy, the ONDCP Director should establish a more comprehensive indicator, or set of indicators, that more accurately reflects progress made by ATF and ICE in meeting the strategic objective.

    Agency: Office of National Drug Control Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As part of ONDCP's comments on our draft report, the agency concurred with our recommendation to establish a more comprehensive set of indicators for the Weapons Chapter of the National Southwest Border Counternarcotic Strategy. ONDCP indicated that it would work with ICE and ATF to develop additional indicators to evaluate their progress. ONDCP agreed that the indicators developed through this collaborative process would be used in future iterations of the Strategy. However, in its July 26, 2017 letter to the relevant congressional committees leadership ONDCP explained that a decision has not been made on whether a new iteration of Strategy will be released, or if the current Administration will take different approach to address this issue. We will need to wait until an update of the Strategy is available for us to review to determine if our recommendation has been implemented.
    Director: Cary B. Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD effectively evaluates the safety performance of carriers entrusted to transport security-sensitive materials in the Transportation Protective Services (TPS) program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the U.S. Transportation Command to update TPS program guidance to clarify (1) how to address carriers with absent or dated Safety Ratings and poor Safety Measurement System scores, and (2) what specific actions should be taken when carriers do not meet program requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD effectively evaluates the safety performance of carriers entrusted to transport security-sensitive materials in the Transportation Protective Services (TPS) program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the U.S. Transportation Command to establish and document an approach for conducting reviews of available violation data, such as analyzing violations incurred while transporting TPS shipments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to identify and effectively mitigate public safety risks of TPS carriers transporting security-sensitive materials, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the DOD Explosives Safety Board, the U.S. Transportation Command, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and the Army Headquarters Safety Office, to develop department-wide guidance requiring the evaluation of the Defense Transportation Tracking System TPS carrier incident data to identify trends and patterns that could suggest systemic weaknesses such as mechanical breakdowns or unusual delays that represent a heightened potential public safety risk and take action to address any identified weaknesses.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to TRANSCOM officials during our visit on April 2016--they are working on implementing these actions with a goal of completing them in Fall 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to identify and effectively mitigate public safety risks of TPS carriers transporting security-sensitive materials, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the DOD Explosives Safety Board, the U.S. Transportation Command, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and the Army Headquarters Safety Office, to develop department-wide guidance requiring the identification and full investigation of TPS carrier incidents, including mishaps and near misses involving security-sensitive shipments, to determine potential root causes and identify corrective actions that could mitigate the recurrence of the mishap or the potential for more significant ones.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to TRANSCOM officials during our visit on April 2016--they are working on implementing these actions with a goal of completing them in Fall 2017.
    Director: Zina Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of DOD's conventional demilitarization efforts, including systematically collecting and maintaining key information about the items in its CAD stockpile and sharing information on excess items with other government agencies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to improve the completeness and accuracy of information on the weight of items in the CAD stockpile--the key measure used by DOD to manage the conventional ammunition demilitarization operation--establish a plan to (1) identify and record, to the extent possible, the missing or inaccurate weight information for existing ammunition records in the CAD stockpile and (2) ensure that all items transferred to the CAD stockpile, including for example components removed from larger weapons and nonstandard ammunition, have the appropriate weight data.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Officials with the Joint Munitions Command stated that they continually monitor the inventory and correct any erroneous or missing data, which includes weight data. However, they had not yet developed a plan specifically focused on correcting weight data for ammunition in the Conventional Ammunition Demilitarization (CAD) stockpile.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency of DOD's conventional demilitarization efforts, including systematically collecting and maintaining key information about the items in its CAD stockpile and sharing information on excess items with other government agencies, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to improve the visibility and awareness of serviceable excess ammunition in the CAD stockpile that could potentially be transferred to other government agencies, develop a systematic means to make information available to other government agencies on excess ammunition that could be used to meet their needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, according to Department of Defense (DOD) officials, the department has made progress in developing a systematic process for sharing information on excess serviceable ammunition and plans, as GAO recommended in July 2015, but has not fully implemented that process. Specifically, the Army?s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics signed a memorandum of understanding with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Disposition Services that established a process where DLA will assist the Army in transferring some excess DOD ammunition to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Annually, the Army will provide DLA with a list of available types and quantities of excess ammunition that is 7.62 millimeters and smaller. DLA Disposition Services will inform participating law enforcement agencies of the ammunition available, screen all requests received from law enforcement agencies, and forward all approved law enforcement agency requests to the Army. The Army will prepare all necessary issue documents; pack and ship, on a reimbursable basis, ammunition to law enforcement agencies identified by DLA; and notify DLA and law enforcement agencies of any changes in condition of the ammunition. DOD and DLA conducted a pilot of this process from November 2016 to June 2017 in which DOD, through DLA, shared information on excess small arms ammunition with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. As a result, DOD transferred 1,209,095 rounds of 5.56-millimeter ammunition and 200,000 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Since DOD was able to transfer this ammunition to another government agency, it does not have to pay to demilitarize (i.e. dispose of) the ammunition, which saved DOD about $60,000 in demilitarization costs. DOD officials stated that they are currently updating the Joint Conventional Ammunition Policies and Procedures (JCAPP) to formalize the procedures to accurately identify, execute, and track future transfers of excess small arms ammunition to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Once JCAPP is updated, this recommendation would be considered fully implemented.
    Director: Brown Barnes, Cindy S
    Phone: (202) 512-9345

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to take steps to identify high risk facilities working with ammonium nitrate and develop options to target them for inspection.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2016, OSHA officials reported that implementation of their planned local emphasis programs focused on safe use and storage of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia at fertilizer facilities was delayed due to litigation regarding process safety management enforcement in the fertilizer industry. As of July 2017, OSHA officials stated that with the recent conclusion of that litigation, OSHA is considering initiation of local emphasis programs focused on the storage and handling of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia at fertilizer facilities. Once initiated, a local emphasis program requires a focused inspection program with facilities chosen at random from the list of facilities in appropriate industry codes. OSHA previously (December 3, 2014) issued guidance to Regional Administrators to assist OSHA officials in enforcing the ammonium nitrate storage requirements in the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. We will close this recommendation when the local emphasis programs are initiated.
    Recommendation: To strengthen federal oversight of facilities with ammonium nitrate, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of EPA should direct OSHA and EPA, respectively, to consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate and jointly develop a plan to require high risk facilities with ammonium nitrate to assess the risks and implement safeguards to prevent accidents involving this chemical.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information seeking, among other things, comments on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and its Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. The Request for Information specifically invited comments on safe work practices for storing, handling, and managing ammonium nitrate and on regulatory requirements to improve its approach to preventing the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate. As of July 2017, OSHA reports it has completed a Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Review Act panel to gather feedback from small businesses on updating its Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation. During the panel, the agency discussed the option of adding ammonium nitrate to the list of chemicals covered by PSM and collected comments. Currently, the PSM rulemaking is on the regulatory agenda under Long Term Action. According to OSHA officials, the agency will continue to collect comments on the option of adding ammonium nitrate to the list of highly hazardous chemicals covered by the PSM regulations as dictated by the rulemaking process. We will close this recommendation when OSHA decides what action to take as a result of the requests for information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen federal oversight of facilities with ammonium nitrate, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of EPA should direct OSHA and EPA, respectively, to consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate and jointly develop a plan to require high risk facilities with ammonium nitrate to assess the risks and implement safeguards to prevent accidents involving this chemical.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, EPA issued a final rule to modify its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations. The agency decided not to propose any revisions to the list of regulated substances and therefore, did not address ammonium nitrate in the revised regulations. In a June 2016 update from EPA, EPA stated that OSHA is considering whether ammonium nitrate should be added to the list of chemicals subject to OSHA Process Safety Management regulations. According to the June 2016 update, EPA stated that while the agency is not presently proposing that ammonium nitrate be added to the list of substances subject to the RMP rule, the agency may elect to propose such a listing at a later date.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to consider updating regulations for the storage of ammonium nitrate taking into consideration, as appropriate, other related standards and current practices.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: OSHA previously (December 3, 2014) issued guidance to Regional Administrators to assist OSHA officials in enforcing the ammonium nitrate storage requirements in the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. In addition, on December 9, 2013, OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking, among other things, comments on potential revisions to the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard, which includes ammonium nitrate storage requirements. The RFI specifically invited comments on safe work practices for storing, handling, and managing ammonium nitrate and on regulatory requirements to improve its approach to preventing the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate. As of July 2017, this rulemaking is on the regulatory agenda under Long Term Action. We will close this recommendation when the agency decides what action to take as a result of the request for information.