Shooting Sports News

Pentagon to Destroy $1.2 Billion in Surplus Ammo

Inefficient data sharing between different branches of the United States Armed Forces has led to a large and expensive to maintain ammo surplus.

Inefficient data sharing between different branches of the United States Armed Forces has led to a large and expensive to maintain ammo surplus.

A new Government Accountability Office report found that the Pentagon is planning to destroy an estimated $1.2 billion worth of ammunition. According to the report, the stockpile slated to be destroyed is a part of the $70 billion worth of ammunition managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) through the Army.

This immense ammo reserve weighs about 1.7 million tons and is utilized by all of the nation’s military forces, although it is currently stored in eight large Army depots. Other services have their own inventory systems to account for ammunition, but only the Army uses the Pentagon format, which makes data exchanges between the services difficult. This problem is alleviated in part by a meeting of the armed services every year called the Quad Services Cross-Leveling Review, where the branches identify surplus ammunition and redistribute it among themselves or US allies. After this meeting, any ammunition not accounted for is then slated for possible disposal, even though the ammo in question may still be perfectly functional.

“We simply cannot afford this type of waste and ineffectiveness,” US Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) told USA Today. “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.”

The report concludes with several suggestions to improve data sharing between the services and to prevent further waste of taxpayer money. One of the most important steps, the report says, will be designating an authoritative inventory system to be used across all the services.

“We need to adopt systems to where the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Army can all share information about different types and amounts of ammunition they have that’s excess to their foreseeable needs,” retired Army general Bill McClain told KTRH News.

Not all of the ammunition will simply be destroyed. Army officers say that a portion of the ammo slated for the scrap heap will end up on the range during “mad minute” exercises. These training sessions involve a short period of intense weapons fire, which officers say provide valuable experience for soldiers and helps to burn through surplus ammunition.

The term “mad minute” was originally coined by British soldiers to describe shooting 15 rounds through a 12-inch target at 300 yards in under one minute using a bolt-action rifle.

Image courtesy US Army

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • M.O.T.L.

    We cannot get ammo, and they are hoarding, then destroying it. Lovely.

    • dogman1313

      Then it wasn’t a conspiracy theory after all.

  • CJ

    This is paid for with our tax dollars. How about reselling it back to us at a discount instead of scrapping what with the brass shortage and all! We could all use some less expensive range fun:)

    • zipper

      you kidding? the govt. showing any common sense or respect for our citizens?

  • Gas Can

    Help the federal government deficit by selling the ammo. The armed forces had to reduce their budget and layoff people. This is a way to generate $$$. Other countries sell their surplus to us, why don’t we sell our surplus to them or to ourselves..

    • 1911@sm

      Hi Y’all,
      We here in Alberta Canada can’t get ammo,powder, projectiles or primers!. None to be had is it is all imported into Canada. We will pay market price for it…..
      Or?, We can barter with our oil stocks! lol
      See if the prez of the U.S has a problem with that seeing as a norman pipeline is a touchy matter :)

      • zipper

        didn’t know you could even still own guns in Canada; or is that just handguns?

  • OutdoorBlue

    It would be pretty sweet if they would just spread this ammo around a dozen bases over the US and just start a come and get it fire sale.

    • zipper

      hey, Blue, i’ve got some prime Florida swampland i could sell you for say, $250,000. call me: 754-654-0145

    • MiamiNice57

      That would leave a number of us out in the cold rain….not nice! Now if it’s spread all the way down to the National Guard …..then I can stomach that. There is one such depot 33 miles from my home. The closest base is Fort Benning Ga. I’m in Miami Fl.

  • Oz

    Another fine example of government waste of the tax payers money. They should sell it to gun shops across the country.

    • zipper

      sell it? who bought the stuff in the First place? the taxpayers!

      • Oz

        @zipper: Even if they could, you really the think the government would just give it back? How many times are we taxed on our own money? And what meds are you on that make you think our government cares about us in any way, shape or form?

      • zipper

        i was just venting some frustration. i’m too much of a realist to ever expect the govt. to do right by us.
        (btw – my favorite “med” is Knob Creek bourbon)

      • Oz

        Lol! I’ve heard of it; never tried it. Sounds good though.

  • jollyroger

    “Mad Minute” is training? I’ve participated in several of these “drills” while in the military, and it never looked like training to me!

  • zipper

    hey imbecile bureaucrats, ever hear of “military surplus” sales?

  • zipper

    congress will debate the issue along partizan lines and then toss it to a “committee” who will debate it some more. when they get tired of it, the issue will be dropped and buried. the Pentagon, without orders to the contrary, will just go ahead and do what it intended to do in the first place.
    bottomline: more time & money wasted on top of time & money wasted. it’s the American way(unfortunately)

  • alg

    Our government just brought must of our amno for sale. So we can not buy even 22 amno price is tripled. They could sell it. No destroy it. Something is wrong with our government thinking.

  • TB

    Standard military accounting… we have to spend money on all this ammo or we won’t get the same amount next year… even though we don’t need all this ammo… and so it goes on in all the departments of the armed services. For some reason all the branches believe that they can’t ask for less of something one year for fear that they won’t be able to get more of it the next year if they actually need it. I watched this go on for over 20 years and so it continues…. your tax dollars at work.

  • davis98

    Don’t ya just love the way our tax dollars are wasted?

  • Northerner

    damn ridiculous if the govt destroys this ammo! they should sell it to the public, or give it to us since we already paid for it!! but the last thing they should be doing is destroying it, what a waste and no wonder taxes are so high when stupid shit like this is going on.

  • AMMOguy

    Most of you guys are assuming they have your missing .22 L/R . In the real world the services have artillery shells, obsolete caliber bullets, rockets, bombs, mortar, smoke and chemical shells in storage from the Korean and Vietnam war which can be dangerous as the bursting charges can break down from aging. I have fired 30 year old artillery shells with old fuzes during the Vietnam era and it’s a scarey experience when you think what a shell bursting in the tube does to the gun crew. Yes, old shells and ammo are routinely rotated out of the inventory for safety sake, not due to some great conspiracy.

    • MiamiNice57

      Nope you don’t do mad minute drills with 22LR or mortar shells. This would be 5.56 (193, 109, 855, etc) 9 mm, 45, 308, saw ammo, 50 cal etc.

  • Joebloe

    A lot of bureaucrats need to do some serious jail time over this. This should not be tolerated. Period.

  • kris littledale

    In the last 18 months the price of ammo has trippled or more and you can’t get any anyway and now the government wants to destroy 1.7 million tons of the stuff worth $70 billion. Obama should commit sepuku and every member of congress should resign from office. I’ll take 10,000 rounds of 5.56 at $0.05 per round. Cheap? Yes. But cheaper than PAYING to destroy the stuff.

    • MiamiNice57

      I’m in please no tracer’s….

      • kris littledale

        Gotta have a few tracers…..1:5 for airborne targets at night. Good for adjusting your lead.

      • MiamiNice57

        I got um just can’t use them (legally) in FLori-duh. They are fun! I have then in my go bag, ready for fun! Every third round.

  • Night Rider

    Where was all this outrage over the the $500 million in tanks that congress made the pentagon take that they didn’t want? Or the 7 obsolete ships they are forcing the Navy to keep? By forcing the pentagon to keep taking these items, they have to furlough or lay off personnel to meet the mandated budget cuts. Which were mandated by the sequestration that the republicans wanted. Don’t try to blame it on the president or the democrats when the end result is due to republican policies.

    Get real, y’all aren’t pissed off about the money, you’re pissed off that you can’t get the ammo cheap. The government isn’t hoarding up all the .22 ammo, it’s being hoarded up by your fellow gun owners, and the factories are raking in the profits from the shortage. And the government has never dumped large quantities of military surplus because they don’t want to adversely affect the businesses that it would be in direct competition with. SMH

    • MiamiNice57

      We don’t want the 22′s we want the 5.56, 9mm, 45, 7.62, (6.8 Federal/lake city did make some), 50 cal.

      Me I’m not greedy I’ll take 5.56, 7.62, 6.8, you all can keep the rest.

    • Toy Pupanbai

      I seem to remember a lot of F15′s (?) being declared obsolete and being shipped to Israel!

  • NRALifer1

    Well this is nothing new! This is just the tip of the iceberg! Now when you go and buy a Deuce & a 1/2 or a 5 Ton, M101′s,105′s and now the 1101′s & 1102′s, I could buy them and take them straight to a scrap yard and keep the tires & wheels and make $100 on them, I didn’t because I couldn’t stand the thought of our steal going to India or South Korea. And it was sold before I bought them for 1/5 of what I paid? Now what Total Moron is responsible for selling things 75% below scrap prices? I would fire Me if I did that, but these Idoits will get a promotion? A few years back this admin was going to scrap M1 Grande’s that were New sitting in a warehouse in S Korea until WE THE PEOPLE pitched enough of a fit, they had to reconsider that STUPID idea! Same needs to happen here & now! We’re broke, these idiots are throwing $ in the trash? I’ve got a solution, Hay, all 535 of you Crooks in DC, Your Fired! Get out before we make examples out of you! Tar is cheap, feathers too!

  • streamcaddis

    This our government in action!. With all thats going on thru-out the world these dead heads are getting rid of out ammo. Not to mention we can’t get ammo to go hunting. Looks like they want to turn us into little Russia!!….

  • longarm28

    THIS IS AS DUMB AS IT GETS WITH THE WAR STILL GOING ON AND WE WILL STLL BE GIVING THE AFANGHANS AMNO WHY IN HELL BLOW IT UP BECAUSE BELEAVE THEY WILL HAVE NEED OF ALL OF IT AN THEN SOME AFTER WE LEAVE BECASUE TALBAN WILL BE ALL OVER THEM LIKE HONEY ON A BEHIVE

  • Charles

    Should continue to stock pile it, shut off all new orders until the current stocks are nearly used up, then reorder to replenish stocks to the same level. Seems to me I don’t buy fuel for my truck unless I need it, I don’t buy food unless I need to replenish the pantry, and now I buy ammo to stock because of foolishness like this. The way I buy fuel is to wait until I get to 1/2 tank and then I replace what I used and it does not hurt as much to buy it. $75-85.00. If I wait till I get to 1/4 tank or 1/8 then I spend a lot more than I want to spend at that moment, $100.00 plus. Same with the ammo. The government/military needs to use what they have which they probably bought with our tax dollars at a lessor price than they would pay today. Waste not want not.

  • MiamiNice57

    He’ll sell me all the 308 rounds at .03 I’ll pay the shipping and pull the projectiles for by 300BLKOUT. One happy camper!!!!

  • Howard Treesong

    I have to believe that with all the military personnel there is, we could not go through a mere 1.7 million tons of ammo in about a month of ‘intense’ training?

    This is purely a luxury problem.

  • Kelly

    After being in the service 4 decades & now seeing all the tv commercials about how proud everybody should be proud of me & others like me 4 protecting & defending the usa. I don’t think we did that, it was a job that can get u killed, either by yourself or the enemy. How did we benefit the usa, some cooperations maybe. tell me I’m wrong, fighting hitler & maybe Vietnam were rite wars , that’s it

  • Larry

    The Pentagon needs to evaluate its position on ammunition to insure that are nation will be ready for any continuities that might happen. If and any extra ammunition is found use it to train our troops; it is stupid to wast tax payer money. Our defence treaty with the Philippines would gladly have this ammunition!

  • Dennis Cain

    It’s the government’s way of subsidizing the arms industry!

  • Citadel

    Given how many conflict the US has been involved in for the last 14 years it’s stunnng that they couldn’t get through all the ammunition. Just how many military invasions did the Pentagon think it needed to buy for?