As U.S. troops continue to draw back from Afghanistan, a new report shows that $7.5 million worth of military equipment was not properly accounted for, leaving sensitive U.S. assets vulnerable to theft.
A Department of Defense inspector general’s report found that 62 out of 93 equipment disposal sites examined — 66 percent — showed accountability errors. Many of the locations were undermanned and did not have the requisite managers to oversee supplies and security.
The Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services (DLA DS) did not adequately train their employees to implement documentation and demilitarization procedures for the extra materials left at the sites, the IG report found. In some cases military equipment was documented as being fully demilitarized but in reality had not yet left the site.
Some of the extra equipment that was unaccounted for was also left unchecked and unsecured by Defense Department personnel who failed to secure doors to facility entrances and did not change lock combinations in accordance with operating standards. U.S. military devices were left vulnerable to being lost or stolen by unescorted scrap-truck drivers at these sites, costing the government millions of dollars.
The IG report said most of the issues stemmed from a lack of staff, especially those in managing positions. But the IG investigators also said that the shortcomings had been corrected during the audit. The DLA DS implemented new standard operating procedures, hired more staff, increased training, corrected all records and secured facilities to fix the accountability problems.