Defense Management:

Need to Fully Recognize Ammunition Demilitarization Liability

GAO-02-553R: Published: Apr 5, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 2002.

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Barry W. Holman
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Last year, GAO reported that the demilitarization liability for excess ammunition was not reflected in the Department of Defense's (DOD) financial statements although required by federal financial accounting standards. The Army, as the single manager for conventional ammunition, calculated a liability of $1.2 billion and prepared a voucher recognizing this amount. Although consistent with GAO's recommendation that DOD include the total liability for demilitarizing excess ammunition in its annual financial statements, this amount does not reflect the full extent of future costs. Specifically, the Army does not recognize a liability for costs associated with the demilitarization of (1) excess ammunition overseas or (2) excess Army-owned war reserve ammunition, excess retail ammunition, and excess ammunition not stored at an Army installation. GAO found that the total liability that should be reflected in fiscal year 2002 financial statements could amount to $3 billion, or $1.8 billion more than the Army's calculation. The Army needs to submit an additional voucher and include in its and DOD's fiscal year 2002 consolidated balance sheets the future liability associated with the demilitarization of excess Army ammunition at overseas and military storage locations.

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