What GAO Found
The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains information on its excess, obsolete, and unserviceable conventional ammunition for the military services and shares this information on a limited basis with other government agencies, but its management of its conventional ammunition awaiting demilitarization and disposal (CAD) stockpile can be strengthened in two areas.
The Army uses its Logistics Modernization Program database to maintain consolidated information on ammunition in the CAD stockpile, but GAO found that records for some items do not include complete data on weight. Specifically, of 36,355 records in the database, 2,829 did not have assigned weights as of February 2015. Internal control standards state that an entity should have controls to ensure that all transactions are complete and accurately recorded. DOD officials stated they are trying to correct current records with missing data; however, the number of records without weight data has increased. For example, as of February 2015, the number of records with missing data had increased by more than 600 since 2012. Since DOD uses weight in determining, among other things, cost estimates for demilitarization projects and what ammunition to demilitarize, missing weight data can negatively impact its efforts to destroy the most ammunition possible with the resources available.
The military services have access to information on the CAD stockpile maintained in the Army's database and can search it for useable ammunition that could fill their requirements, but other government agencies do not and DOD does not have a systematic means for sharing such information. Federal internal control standards state that management should ensure there are adequate means of communicating with, and obtaining information from, external stakeholders. DOD officials told GAO that there have been instances of transfers of ammunition to other government agencies, but these have been done informally and on a limited basis. Without a systematic means for regularly sharing information on useable ammunition beyond DOD's needs, both DOD and other agencies may be missing opportunities to reduce costs related to demilitarization and ammunition procurement.
Open Burn Destruction of Ammunition
Why GAO Did This Study
DOD manages conventional ammunition that ranges from small arms cartridges to rockets, mortars, artillery shells, and tactical missiles. When a military service determines such ammunition is beyond its needs, obsolete, or unserviceable, it is offered to the other services and if not taken, transferred to the Army, which manages the CAD stockpile and takes actions to demilitarize and dispose of the ammunition in the stockpile. According to data provided by DOD officials, as of February 2015, the stockpile was about 529,373 tons. DOD estimates that from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2020 it will add an additional 582,789 tons of conventional ammunition to this CAD stockpile.
Section 352 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 included a provision that GAO review and report on the management of DOD's CAD stockpile.
This report assesses, among other things, the extent to which DOD has adequately maintained and shared information on excess, obsolete, and unserviceable ammunition for the military services. GAO reviewed applicable guidance and the military service ammunition databases; visited an Army depot that conducts ammunition demilitarization; and interviewed appropriate DOD officials.
GAO recommends DOD develop a plan to identify and record missing weight data and develop a systematic means to share information on the stockpile with other government agencies. DOD agreed with GAO's recommendations.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||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.||
Closed - Implemented
|Department of Defense||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.||
Closed - Implemented