Who’s minding the store? $420 million in weaponry goes missing in Afghanistan

As a young artillery battery commander, I had to conduct what was called a “change of command inventory.” Every single piece of equipment and property had to be accounted for and signed by the incoming commander. Supply accountability was one of my premier responsibilities. There was a system of monthly 10 percent inventories over the course of a year as a means to maintain property accountability.

We also conducted monthly maintenance and expenditure reconciliations in order to ensure our unit budget was balancing. One of the tricks of the trade was to ensure that the 10 percent inventories were scheduled on the unit training schedule with corresponding equipment line numbers that were to be laid out — because savvy section chiefs who were short on something would shift stuff around. You always wanted all like items in the entire unit laid out at the same time.

Some commanders took out “Supply Inventory Insurance” to cover their exit inventory — not me, figured I would just listen to my supply sergeant and do what was right. I remember one fellow company commander — who during his incoming inventory didn’t count tools by specific measurements — ended up with a nearly $20,000 bill for lost equipment at the end of his command tour. The incoming fella was not as lax as he’d been – and the outgoing captain’s wife didn’t take the news very well!

So needless to say, I find this recent development out of Afghanistan rather disturbing. As reported by the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo, “Nearly $420 million in weapons and other “sensitive items” have gone missing from U.S. Army bases in Afghanistan and are not likely to be recovered due to mismanagement and improper accounting, according to an internal report by the Pentagon’s inspector general obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.”

“Some 15,600 pieces of equipment—including “weapons, weapons systems, and sensitive items”—went missing in the past year from Army facilities in Bagram and Kandahar, accounting for around $419.5 million in losses, according to the report, which was issued in late October and marked “for official use only.” The extent of these losses was only discovered following an internal audit by the Pentagon’s inspector general, who recommended that military leaders institute a series of reforms aimed at increasing transparency and strengthening mechanisms meant to detect such losses.”

Now back in the day of the old Army, somebody would be losing his or her job and would forfeit pay for a real long time. This, ladies and gents, is an egregious mismanagement of U.S. military property and a blatant disregard of the responsibility of being good stewards of the American taxpayer dollar.

When I was in Congress on the House Armed Services Committee, I was fully supportive of auditing the Department of Defense — that is just common sense, as well as good policy. “Improper accounting” is not an excuse for something of this magnitude and these items must be traced, and if possible recovered, but certainly accounted for. The last thing we need is more U.S. weapons and especially sensitive items — such as I presume night vision devices — falling into the hands of the enemy. We’ve already seen this in Libya, Syria, and Iraq. SecDef Hagel, we indeed have a problem.

“The Army did not effectively report [fiscal year] 2013 inventory losses at the Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan [Redistribution Property Assistance Team] yards,” the report states. “The missing equipment included weapons, weapons systems, and sensitive items. Even after the 401st Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB) detected these losses, it “did not always correctly calculate and report the total loss to the U.S. government,” according to the report, which shines a light on mismanagement issues that continue to plague U.S. operations in Afghanistan. In some cases, “AFSB officials did not consider the inventory lost,” leading to items being improperly cataloged.”

The Beacon says, “Evidence of the $419.5 million in losses comes just a year after the Army reported “accumulated losses” of $586.8 million, the report states. Army officials also were found to have waited longer than mandated to report these losses. While Army policy stipulates that losses be officially reported within 75 days, reports reviewed by the inspector general were completed an average of “318 days from the date the inventory was determined to be lost,” according to the report.”

If that’s the case, we’re talking about willful negligence of a massive order and violation of standard policy. The ramifications of this are far reaching and we have a unit, the 401st AFSB, which must undergo an intense investigation (far more important than an investigation to appease radical atheist Mikey Weinstein).

Worse, this is an incredible embarrassment to the United States Army. If we have a system of command inventories at the company level, then why in a combat zone are we not adhering to the basic standards of property accountability, especially of weapons?

Kredo writes, “while AFSB officials maintain that “the majority” of the missing equipment will eventually be found as the U.S. military leaves Afghanistan, statistics compiled by the inspector general show that this has not historically been the case.

missing_chart

Back in the day a commander would be relieved of duty because of this type of negligence — it was a monthly reportable item as to whether or not commanders did their 10 percent inventories. During my outgoing command exit report in March 1990 to my First Infantry Division Artillery Commander, I had to brief Colonel Roberts on the results of the change of command inventory. There was an expenditure for a $7.85 pneumatic hose for a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) that was unaccounted for. Col. Roberts raked me over the coals for not being able to account for that one Class IX repair part. I will never forget it, and reached into my back pocket to pull out my checkbook. He smiled and told me he’d never seen such a thorough system of accountability.

However, I’ve not seen a more disgusting lack of property accountability than this and clearly we have a systemic problem that has gotten increasingly worse over the years. I would hate to see the data for 2010 to present. This is a major national security issue from a fiscal responsibility standpoint point as well as a force protection issue — we need to hold someone accountable.

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26 Comments on "Who’s minding the store? $420 million in weaponry goes missing in Afghanistan"

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Tread7
Guest

A damn shame Sir. Heads need to roll.

KJinWTexas
Guest

This is a pittance when you compare it to the $6 Billion, with a B, in cash they lost in Iraq, but it is indicative of how irresponsible our leader have become. It’s also a really good way to arm terrorists without actually cutting a deal.

http://hardnoxandfriends.com/2014/07/15/wasteful-government-spending-helicopter-parts-lost-cash/

yennikcm
Guest

Obamulluh, gave the stuff to isis, muslim brood

Rpokeytruck
Guest

I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t found that those missing weapons were a lefthanded way of supplying insurgents who were fighting our bad guys at the time. I have every faith in this administration’s corruption and doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and then having a military commander or blackhat as a scapegoat when they get caught.

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jamest1148
Guest

Obama will only find out this by watching the news.

Kyle Sexton
Guest

Drive by media reporting this, well they might be because they hate the military so much, but doubt it, they don’t report the death tolls like in the beginning of the war.

nearoffutt
Guest
Perhaps if we had not invaded their nations, an Iraqi war based on lies, there would not be those items there for the bad guys to use? Perhaps we would not have created so many martyrs to inspire their youth to join in fighting against the invader and the local collaborators. This is nothing to do with Obama. Stop the silly talk about our duly elected POTUS being Muslim or assisting the enemies created by the previous administration. Would a Muslim Obama as part of the international conspiracy really have increased the attacks on Muslim Pakistan? Would he have ordered… Read more »
BobGuy
Guest
Well, then: If Islam had not invaded the USA and destroyed the Twin Towers and part of the Pentagon… ? You miss the simple truth that Islam has no compunction about killing its own. They are willing to kill off a few popular targets to lull you in to a state of complacency and denial. Obama has been very vocal, and has instituted policy which enables, comforts, and aids our enemies. The decimation of Pentagon leadership, the appointment of Hagel, the ever increasing mandatory political correctness with a commensurate reduction in readiness, and degraded morale as more and more troops… Read more »
Thomas Gilmore
Guest

don’t see this as anything to do with OB, its a supply, and accountability problem
if your supposed to have it, and don’t, you sign a statement of charges, and it taken from your pay
the way it was done in the Army I was in

Joe Rue
Guest

i am with lambda555m!!!

lambda5555m
Guest

Bite me. He is killing the least amount possible and he doesn’t want to kill any of his “mooslim brothers” than he absolutely has to. He is the worst kind of president – a LOSER – the world is a much more dangerous place because he doesn’t want to kill our enemies and just because they are mooslims. Get your head out of your butt and maybe get the HELL out of MY COUNTRY if you are such a moron….

wag_dog_69
Guest

But accountability isn’t cool anymore. The Army isn’t held accountable for funds, DOD can’t even count it’s money, nor does it need to. The Pentagon knows that Congress will just keep throwing more at them no matter how incompetent they become, and the Administration is happy to keep borrowing from the Chinese. A perfect storm, but only the taxpayer will ever pay.

lambda5555m
Guest
Great job on your Command Inventory. I wasn’t short anything and I walked around with a tape measure on my belt to measure tools!!! Would have been raked over the coals as you put it if I had not had everything and people had to buy a lot of stuff they thought was expendable and lost it, broke it and threw it away or took it home. If I had lost that much, I think I would have been in Leavenworth, but how come the Commanders in AFG don’t go to jail? Weapons? Really? Sure the CIA morons don’t have… Read more »
Impeach Obama Now!
Guest

Obama built that!

Daniel
Guest

Umm please find a safe house for us Americans who will fight back and put the weapons there!!!!! Just make sure I get the address! !!

Earl Lee
Guest

Hmmm…nothing about the BILLIONS THAT went missing under the bush administration huh?

Rick Williams
Guest

Don’t pay attention to Earl Lee… He’s just a chit-stirrer who thinks that felonies committed by one administration justify felonies committed by the next. In other words, he’s not real bright. It’s like saying, “It doesn’t matter. She was raped once before, so no biggie.”

Earl Lee
Guest

In other words…IF YOU DIDN”T complain this….please don’t complain now…thanks for playing!!

BobGuy
Guest

Uhm. Apples v Oranges. The BILLIONS you are talking about are not US Army weapons and such, but the funds distributed through multiple channels for salaries, reconstruction projects, operating expenses, and came from the UN’s former oil for food program, oil sales, and seized assets. And it was Iraqi money.

Earl Lee
Guest

No…the BILLIONS were never accounted for…just went POOF!!!

Christine Gtodd
Guest

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Christine Gtodd
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Kayla . if you, thought Willie `s artlclee is impressive, on saturday I bought themselves a McLaren F1 since getting a cheque for $4414 this-past/4 weeks and also ten grand last munth . it’s certainly the most rewarding I have ever done . I started this five months/ago and straight away started bringin in at least $71… per-hour . visit this site =,,==> click Here

Ridge-runner
Guest

“back in the day”…; As any Marine knows, the responsible party would still be keeping the sidewalks at Leavenworth shining!!

BobGuy
Guest

It is called graft. Political and economic. Follow the money.

ReformSchool
Guest

You thought Barry’s prime motive for committing “officer purgery” was punishment for loyalty to Constitution and Country over President and Party? Ever visit Oklahoma City or Lockbourne? How about DR MO? And Liquidity Services? Auditing THEM would make you piss your pants!