Army Squandering Millions on Unreturned Clothing, Equipment

GWImages/Shutterstock.com

The Army lost $20 million over the past six years at just two bases from civilians and contractors not returning clothing and equipment, according to a new report.

The Defense Department Inspector General’s Office found the Pentagon has not followed up on a 2010 report calling for stricter oversight of organizational clothing and individual equipment. That report had tasked The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics with developing and implementing a plan to reduce unreturned materials, but it failed to do so, the new audit found.

The acquisition and logistics office was supposed to set up a working group to determine how to eliminate the problem, but instead passed the responsibility on to the Army Materiel Command, the report found. Army officials told the inspector general they were not aware they had been assigned the task.

The IG’s report focused on Fort Benning in Georgia and Camp Atterbury in Indiana from October 2006 to May 2012. Civilians and contractors deploying from these bases received, at a minimum, a duffel bag, body armor, a helmet and a chemical biological mask. Additionally, some received clothing, safety glasses and sleeping bags. Civilians got $5,300 in clothing and equipment on average before deployment, while contractors obtained $3,400 worth.

The central facilities responsible for stocking, issuing, recovering and accounting for the materials at the two bases took some steps to improve clothing and equipment recovery efforts since the 2010 report. The facilities began checking records to ensure civilians and contractors redeploying did not have outstanding equipment -- and if they did, no new equipment was issued until the individual returned the materials or reimbursed the government for their cost. The facility officials also began maintaining contact information for deployed individuals, so the facility could get in touch with them if records showed they had not returned clothing or equipment.

However, the Army still has “limited visibility” of civilians and contractors returning from deployment, meaning they do not know who returns when, the IG said.

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics and Material Readiness responded to the new report on behalf of OUSD(AT&L), agreeing with the inspector general’s findings. The assistant secretary said corrective actions would include developing better procedures to track individuals provided with clothing and equipment, automating notifications of a contractor’s deployment and recommending that procurement policymakers update contracts to ensure the private companies are responsible for unreturned materials. 

(Image via GWImages/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.