The Afghan Military’s Tracking of U.S.-Supplied Weapons Is Sloppy at Best

Crates of weapons for the Afghan National Security Forces. Crates of weapons for the Afghan National Security Forces. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

Hundreds of thousands of U.S.-made machine guns, rifles and pistols supplied to the Afghan National Security Forces have been sloppily inventoried, raising the risk that some could end up in enemy hands, a watchdog reported Monday.

The Defense Department over the past decade-plus has provided more than 747,000 weapons and pieces of auxiliary equipment valued at $626 million, according to the report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

“Controls over the accountability of small arms provided to the ANSF are insufficient both before and after the weapons are transferred,” Inspector General John Sopko said in an audit report to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. commanders in Kabul. The Afghan military’s “record-keeping and inventory processes are poor,” auditors said after inspections at supply depots showed missing weapons. “More than 112,000 weapons provided to the ANSF exceed requirements and the scheduled reduction in ANSF personnel by 2017 is likely to result even greater excess weapons,” SIGAR said in a statement.

Of the 474,823 total serial numbers recorded, 43 percent, or 203,888 weapons, had missing information and/or duplication, the report said. Still other serial numbers were repeated, and some records lacked shipping and receiving dates.

The Afghan National Police “currently has no standardized or automated system to account for weapons,” the audit noted, relying instead on hand-written paper and some Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, auditors said. Efforts to automate have been “hindered by the lack of basic education or skills among ANSF personnel and frequent turnover of Afghan staff.”

SIGAR recommended a “full reconciliation” to correct errors within six months, along with a full inventory check to either recover or destroy excess U.S.-led coalition-provided weapons.

The Pentagon mostly accepted the recommendations, though it noted that it has no authority under the law to recover or destroy Afghan weapons to prevent their capture.

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.