Broun Addresses DHS Tank and Ammunition ReportsPosted on March 22, 2013
We’ve received a lot of inquiries regarding the reports about DHS purchasing thousands of “tanks” or billions of rounds of ammo. We too were concerned, so we looking into both issues in depth and found both were the result of faulty reporting.
First, regarding the DHS “tanks”-
Someone took a press release from Navistar stating they were retrofitting 2,717 MRAPs (Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected vehicles) for the Army, and a video from DHS featuring a Customs and Border Patrol MRAP and explaining how CBP uses the vehicles, and combined them to imply that DHS was buying thousands of these vehicles for domestic use.
The fact is that DHS has 32 MRAPs with no plans for further acquisition. 16 are with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, used in support of ICE Special Response Teams (SRT); and 16 are with Customs and Border Protection, used in support of CBP border tactical units. These are used for high-risk situations where the SRTs or CBP is likely to need cover from gunfire, such as serving high-risk warrants or breaking into heavily armed drug cells. These were all given to them by the Army out of their inactive stock, and DHS has no intent to procure any more.
To clear up the issue regarding ammunition stockpiling -
The reports that DHS has been hoarding billions of rounds of ammunition is also false, and due to a media misunderstanding of how ammunition contracts function and misreading of individual solicitations.
First and foremost, even if the 1.6 billion number being floated was accurate for the solicitations, it would only represent the “ceiling” of purchases – or the most that could be possibly purchased over a 5 year period – NOT a stockpile. If you’d like to see how much ammo they have on hand, please see the addendum below.
Furthermore, that number is much higher than the actual ceiling due to a misreading of ammunition solicitations. For instance, one widely reported story indicated that the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center was soliciting for “750 Million Rounds,” but in actuality the solicitation called for roughly 63 million rounds if completely realized. And an amendment to the solicitation further clarified that the maximum allowed rounds doesn’t exceed 70 million rounds, NOT 750 million.
You can see how this quickly spiraled into a story about “billions of rounds of ammunition” when a 70 million round maximum solicitation – that will likely generate much less in actual purchases – is counted as 750 million stockpiled today.
Also, much has been made of the fact that this is “hollow point” or “high powered” ammunition. This is not unusual, as hollow point is the standard issue for law enforcement because it stops when it hits something instead of passing through for potential collateral damage.
For more specific numbers concerning current ammunition procurement and historic numbers: According to DHS, in November of 2012 departmental components reported 263.7 million rounds of all types of ammunition on hand – slightly more than purchased in FY2010 and FY2011 combined. This is not unreasonable considering that DHS contains around 45% of all federal law enforcement.
After looking into DHS ammunition procurement, we found that the amount of ammunition purchased by DHS has actually declined over the last three years. The combined sub-agencies of DHS purchased 148 million rounds of ammunition in fiscal year 2010, 108 million in FY 2011, and 103 million in FY 2012.
The DHS components which purchased the most ammunition are the Customs and Border Patrol, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the U.S. Secret Service. Interestingly, while the number of rounds purchased has declined, the number of DHS purchased who carry guns and must train and certify in their use overall has grown.
For more information, see the following detailed memo:
The opinions expressed below are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily represent those of this office.
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