The Pentagon has recently announced that they are going to destroy $1 billion worth of ammunition. Apparently the reason behind such a decision is nothing more than a lack of ambition to communicate effectively, or so it has been described as by military officials.
The ammunition consists mostly of bullets as well as missiles and is valued at a whopping $1.2 billion, as estimated by the Pentagon. According to the Government Accountability Office, the government has since announced the destruction of the ammunition as military inventory systems cannot communicate effectively with one another.
You see, even though the ammunition is needed by other branches of the military, as their inventory systems aren’t up to par, they have no way of telling exactly how much they have. Along with this, other branches have no way of requesting ammunition from other’s that may have inventory in surplus.
Although this seems like it would put a dent in the potential future needs for arms in America this is apparently not the case as, at any given time, the government is stockpiling around $70 billion worth of ammo. As this is not the case however, and since there is no way to determine exactly how much will have to be destroyed, we’re looking at a, “potential waste of unknown value.”
Sen. Tom Carper relays, “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. Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy and Air Force still don’t have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets. This Government Accountability Office (GAO) report clearly shows that our military’s antiquated systems lead to millions of dollars in wasteful ammunition purchases.”
However, as the government continues down its path, just shooting money off willy-nilly, the concept of adding another billion dollars, effectively uselessly spent, to the national debt, doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Instead however, the army and pentagon have announced that they will be fixing the issue later on.
According to a statement, “the need to automate the process,” will be made a priority in upcoming budget proposals. Luckily however, it seems that some are a bit angered by the “whatever” decision as Carper went on to express, “We simply cannot afford this type of waste and ineffectiveness.”
Instead however, he insisted, “The (Pentagon) has a responsibility to efficiently manage its ammunition stocks, not only because it is important to be fiscally responsible, but also because our antiquated ammunition inventory systems can shortchange our war fighters and compromise their ability to complete their mission.”
According to the Government Accountability Office’s report detailing the recent decision:
• The services have inventory systems for ammunition that cannot share data directly despite working for decades to develop a single database. Only the Army uses the standard Pentagon format; “the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps operate with formats that are obsolete.”
• The services hold an annual conference to share information about surplus ammunition and swap bullets and other munitions as needed. Data about ammunition left over after the meeting disappears from the books, resulting in an unknown amount of good bullets headed to the scrap heap.
• The Army, although required by regulation, had not reported annually on its missile stockpile until last month, shortly before the GAO study was to be released.
Currently the process in which one military branch would request ammunition from another is rather primitive. Whichever branch was in need, would type up a request and fax it over the branch with the resources. From there, they would print it off and manually enter said request into their own system.
It isn’t hard to see how such inefficiency has the potential for problems and miscommunications (i.e. typo or lost document).
So what do you guys think – is inefficiency an excuse to just flush $1 billion down the toilet? Is this indicative of the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from the U.S. government? Is this acceptable? Let us know in a comment below.