DHS Shoots to Stockpile of 1 Billion Rounds; Fires More Bullets than US Army
April 27, 2013
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Fox News
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is using roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition more per person than the US Army, as he and other lawmakers sharply questioned DHS officials on their "massive" bullet buys. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he suspects rounds are being stockpiled, and then either "disposed of," passed to non-federal agencies, or shot "indiscriminately."
70,000 Agents Used Over 110 Million Bullets
Enormous DHS Bullet Usage Defies Common Sense
,big>Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(April 26, 2013) -- Does anyone remember the big Department of Homeland Security (DHS) gunbattles of the past year? If you don't, it's because there weren't any, and that's got some in Congress doing some very troubling math.
The DHS is buying just a ridiculous amount of ammunition. They have 260 million rounds in stock, and want to buy 750 million more, noting that they went through 116 million bullets in 2012 alone.
116 million bullets, and 70,000 active agents means that the average agent is going through 1,600 rounds of ammunition in a calendar year, despite the DHS not shooting a bunch of people. Rep. Jason Cheffetz (R-UT), one of the House oversight subcommittee heads, noted that the US Army only goes through about 350 rounds per soldier, and that's in the middle of a war.
The DHS isn't questioning any of the numbers, but Congress sure is. DHS officials say that they just need their field agents to be super trained and so they're doing a lot of shooting, some might say a ridiculous amount.
The claims aren't being taken at face value though, and the numbers are so ridiculous that it has even sparked allegations from Congressmen that the DHS is deliberately buying absurd amounts of small arms ammo in an attempt to crease a shortage for private citizens.
The DHS is denying that too, of course, and even mocked the Army comparison by saying that they can't "contact air support" like the military can every time a fight breaks out. In spite of this surly attitude, the DHS seems to be largely just shutting down websites for copyright violations, and apparently they all go to the gun range after to fire off a few million rounds.
Reps Challenge DHS Ammo Buys, Say Agency Using 1,000 More Rounds Per Person than Army
(April 26, 2013) -- Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is using roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition more per person than the US Army, as he and other lawmakers sharply questioned DHS officials on their "massive" bullet buys.
"It is entirely … inexplicable why the Department of Homeland Security needs so much ammunition," Chaffetz, R-Utah, said at a hearing.
The hearing itself was unusual, as questions about the department's ammunition purchases until recently had bubbled largely under the radar -- on blogs and in the occasional news article. But as the Department of Homeland Security found itself publicly defending the purchases, lawmakers gradually showed more interest in the issue.
Democratic Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., at the opening of the hearing, ridiculed the concerns as "conspiracy theories" which have "no place" in the committee room. But Republicans said the purchases raise "serious" questions about waste and accountability.
Chaffetz, who chairs one of the House oversight subcommittees holding the hearing Thursday, revealed that the department currently has more than 260 million rounds in stock. He said the department bought more than 103 million rounds in 2012 and used 116 million that same year -- among roughly 70,000 agents.
Comparing that with the small-arms purchases procured by the US Army, he said the DHS is churning through between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer, while the US Army goes through roughly 350 rounds per soldier.
He noted that is "roughly 1,000 rounds more per person. Their officers use what seems to be an exorbitant amount of ammunition," he said.
Nick Nayak, chief procurement officer for the Department of Homeland Security, did not challenge Chaffetz's numbers.
However, Nayak sought to counter what he described as several misconceptions about the bullet buys.
Despite reports that the department was trying to buy up to 1.6 billion rounds over five years, he said that is not true. He later clarified that the number is closer to 750 million.
He said the department, on average, buys roughly 100 million rounds per year. He also said claims that the department is stockpiling ammo are "simply not true." Further, he countered claims that the purchases are helping create broader ammunition shortages in the US
The department has long said it needs the bullets for agents in training and on duty, and buys in bulk to save money.
While Democrats likened concerns about the purchases to conspiracy theories, Republicans raised concern about the sheer cost of the ammunition.
"This is not about conspiracy theories, this is about good government," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he suspects rounds are being stockpiled, and then either "disposed of," passed to non-federal agencies, or shot "indiscriminately."
If that is the case, he said, "then shame on you."
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