It’s a scary thought: military grade guns lost to the US government and reappearing on the streets.
Associated Press investigation found assault rifles, machine guns, handguns, armor-piercing grenades, artillery shells, mortars, grenade launchers and plastic explosives were indeed missing . Even more frightening, the PA’s investigation into the AWOL weapons showed reports that missing weapons were not reaching members of Congress.
With President Joe Biden due to sign the National Defense Authorization Act after it is approved by Congress, the Pentagon is now required to provide lawmakers with annual reports on lost weapons and security. What we have already learned is mind-boggling.
Defense Ministry officials were keeping track (or not) of missing guns and explosives with PAPER files. It was only after being called in by the PA investigation that they digitized the effort, with a central logistics operations center now collecting and verifying serious incident reports. These reports are now going, although they have not always been, to the top of the chain of command.
This is only the beginning of the reforms to be implemented.
“It is clear that the responsibility on this issue stopped at too low a level”, said U.S. Representative Jason Crow, D-Colo., an Army veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee. With the new requirements, “If there are hundreds of weapons missing from this report, members of Congress will see it and they will be publicly questioned about it and held accountable. “
It’s a shame the Pentagon had to be told it would be watched more carefully before it was more careful in tracking potentially dangerous taxpayer assets.
But the new law also requires the Secretary of Defense to report confirmed thefts or recovered weapons to the National Crime Information Center, run by the FBI, rather than departments and units simply being required to report losses themselves.
Kudos to those who have worked diligently to bring to light this dangerous oversight error. Members of Congress will surely be watching just as diligently to make sure the trend is stopped.