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Highlights

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

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.

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Recommendations

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

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
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

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

DOD developed and implemented a corrective action plan that requires, on a continuing basis, the Joint Munitions Command to update information in the CAD stockpile's inventory records as missing or incorrect data is discovered or whenever new items are added to the CAD stockpile. Further, the plan requires the Joint Munitions Command to conduct periodic reviews of the inventory records to identify records that are missing weight data, and when they do, conduct the required research and update the records.
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

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

DOD has developed a systematic process for sharing information on excess serviceable ammunition. 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. To formalize the process, DOD revised DOD Manual 4140.01, Volume 6, DOD Supply Chain Material Management Procedures: Material Returns, Retention, and Disposition 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 addition, DOD revised the Joint Conventional Ammunition Policies and Procedures to establish the process and assigned responsibility for identifying and transferring excess ammunition to approved law enforcement agencies.

Full Report