Need for Uniform Security Measures in Transporting Arms, Ammunition, and Explosives

LCD-78-237: Published: Dec 21, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 21, 1978.

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Arms, ammunition, and explosives receive various degrees of protection while in transit. Because these items continue to be sought by terrorist, dissident, and criminal groups, they are sensitive items, vulnerable to theft or loss. Mandatory regulations exist for storage but not for security on shipment of certain sensitive items. GAO compared the intransit security policies, procedures, and practices used by the military services for sensitive arms, ammunition and explosives. Shipments by commercial manufacturers, distributors, or other vendors, other than Department of Defense (DOD), were not governed by mandatory intransit security regulations.

Although the highest level of security protection is provided by the Army, the greatest number of losses is also experienced. Uniform intransit security procedures are needed, since shipments to non-DOD customers should be considered as vulnerable to theft or loss as DOD shipments. A study is needed to develop uniform standards and regulations, with input from representatives of affected public and private sectors. DOD has developed a manual of uniform standards and criteria for minimum intransit security, but until the Department of Transportation (DOT) issues mandatory regulations, the individual services must implement DOD's minimum requirements to ensure reasonable uniformity. An assessment of the costs of implementing the minimum standards is needed to ensure that funding will be available.

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