Army Squandering Millions on Unreturned Clothing, Equipment


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/

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

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
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)

  • 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.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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