Key Issues > Duplication & Cost Savings > GAO's Action Tracker > DOD Excess Ammunition (2016-15)
defense icon, source: [West Covina, California] Progressive Management, 2008

Defense: DOD Excess Ammunition (2016-15)

The Department of Defense could potentially reduce its storage, demilitarization, and disposal costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars by transferring excess serviceable conventional ammunition, including small arms ammunition, to federal, state, and local government agencies.


The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop a systematic means to make information available to other government agencies on excess ammunition to include small arms ammunition that could be used to meet their needs.


The Department of Defense (DOD) has developed a systematic process for sharing information on excess serviceable ammunition, as GAO recommended in July 2015. 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 documentation; 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 of the pilot, 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 has initiated a second round of transfers, which when completed should increase the cost savings.

DOD also revised guidance documents to formalize this process. In March 2017, DOD Manual 4140.01, Volume 6, DOD Supply Chain Material Management Procedures: Material Returns, Retention, and Disposition was revised to require the secretaries of the military departments to identify and provide a listing to DLA of excess small caliber ammunition, 7.62-millimeter and lower, suitable for use by other government and law enforcement agencies for use in the Law Enforcement Support Program. In December 2017, the Joint Conventional Ammunition Policies and Procedures were revised to establish the process and assigned responsibility for identifying and transferring excess ammunition to approved law enforcement agencies.

Implementing Entity:

Department of Defense
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    • Diana Maurer
    • Director, Defense Capabilities and Management
    • (202) 512-9627