The US Department of Defense cannot report to Congress for stolen or lost weapons, ammunition, or explosives. The Associated Press reportedly investigated the shortfall. As a result, it turned out that everything stolen from the Pentagon ended up on American streets.
Among the weapons missing from military units are: assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, anti-tank grenades, artillery shells, mortars, grenade launchers and plastic explosives. The Associated Press points out:
“The Pentagon will now have to provide lawmakers with an annual report on gun losses under the National Defense Act, which Congress passed this month and is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.” The result of the agency’s investigation was published in an article entitled AWOL. It emphasizes that military officials were unable to clearly explain to Congress and present the concept of storage, even as weapons and explosives continued to disappear. Member of the United States House of Represen-tatives for the Armed Services, Representatives of the Pentagon, in their defense, said that the Pentagon accounts for more than 99.9% of the firearms in the country, and the Ministry of Defense takes their safety very seriously.
However, when AP released its first report on missing firearms in June, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milli, said he would check the situation. After that, the US Army (US Army), the largest weapons holder in America, conducted a check in their structures in order to find out how reliably the troops were reporting missing, lost or stolen weapons. Paper documents have long since given way to digital form, with all information flowing to the Army’s logistics center, which verifies reports and conducts inquiries in the event of serious incidents. It turned out, that in the routine of bureaucratic work, part of the information is lost. The center and troops are using an already proven software system called Vantage. It gives commanders a real-time view of what is left out,” said Scott Forster, an analyst for military operations, at a briefing with AP.
There is another problem. Military regulatory authorities are reluctant to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. When a stolen weapon is found, requests are answered inaccurately or with a long delay. According to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Brandon Kelly, an IT application is currently being developed that will search its own databases about which unit – which weapon belongs.
Each Service of the US Armed Forces in this regard is brewed in its own juice. The Marine Corps is developing internal procedures to improve oversight by increasing the number of unit inspections. The Navy has its own system for collecting information on the loss of weapons. The Air Force has generally replaced its ammunition inventory system with a commercial application.
With the press, the Pentagon is even more reluctant to share the statistics it has collected, which Millie’s office made available to Capitol Hill. The official figures are lower than reported by the AP, but also incomplete, as some services did not account for the stolen weapons, as documented by their own military criminal investigators.
The number of missing, lost or stolen firearms between 2010 and this summer was “roughly 1,540,” a spokesman for the Defense Minister’s office said. While AP identified at least 2,000 firearms lost between 2010 and 2020, the tally was based on the military’s own data, internal memoranda, criminal records and other sources.
US Navy records show that no small arms were stolen, and 20 grenades were stolen from explosives in the 2010s. While the AP identified several shotguns and dozens of armor-piercing grenades based only on materials from the Navy’s Criminal Investigation Service.
For example, the Marine Corps command decided that any weapon missing in a war zone would not be counted – even if a rifle fell from a car or plane or disappeared from living quarters at a foreign base.
It seems that the theft of weapons is far from an isolated phenomenon in the US Armed Forces. In any case, American law enforcement officials note an increase in the number of unaccounted for army samples that have ended up in the hands of criminals.