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Report: Military Fails to Track Ammo Properly


Ammunition StockpileThe U.S. military mismanages its ammunition stockpiles meaning some services destroy useful ammunition that other sister services could use, according to a report by a government watchdog.

The Government Accountability Office issued a report on Monday saying the services fail to exchange ammunition data because the services have been slow in adopting a standard format. The Army's Logistics Modernization Program adopted the standard Defense Department format, but the next service that plans to do so, the Air Force, won't switch over until 2017.

Meanwhile, the military will continue to destroy ammunition the services deem excess without consulting with their sister services to see if they are planning on buying the very same ammo. The Pentagon plans to destroy $1 billion worth of ammunition from the 2013 stockpile, according to the GAO report that was first reported on by USA Today.

GAO investigators didn't specify how much of the ammo could still be used because the lack of data made it nearly impossible to know.

"There is a huge opportunity to save millions, if not billions of dollars if the (Pentagon) can make some common-sense improvements to how it manages ammunition," Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told USA Today.

Here are the highlights published by the GAO report:

  • The systems cannot directly exchange ammunition data because they use different data exchange formats. Only the Army's Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) system uses the standard DOD format. The other services have not adopted this format, although Air Force officials have said that they plan to by 2017. Without a common format for data exchange, the services will continue to devote extra time and resources to ensure efficient data exchange between their systems and LMP.
  • LMP has some limitations in its ammunition-related functionality that can affect the accuracy and completeness of data for items stored at Army depots and require extra time and resources to confirm data or correct errors. The Army acknowledges there are limitations in LMP; however, it has not yet developed a comprehensive plan, with time frames and costs, for addressing the limitations. Such a plan could provide DOD reasonable assurance that its efforts to upgrade ammunition-related functionality in LMP are making progress.
  • The Army developed the National Level Ammunition Capability (NLAC) as a DOD-wide repository of ammunition data, but NLAC has some limitations in providing ammunition visibility—that is, having complete and accurate information on items wherever they are in the supply system. The Army does not have reasonable assurance that NLAC collects complete and accurate data from service systems because it does not have checks and controls that federal internal control standards recommend to ensure source data is reliable. Without steps to ensure the quality of the data that flows into NLAC, DOD officials risk making decisions based on inaccurate and incomplete inventory information, or ammunition offices may have to devote extra staff and time to obtain accurate data of DOD-wide inventory.
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