The controversial Department of Homeland Security (DHS) purchase orders for as many as 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over a 5-year period will be the subject of new accountability requirements in this year's DHS Appropriations bill, due to legislative language to be introduced by Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-TX31).
"After a months-long investigation by my officeinto this matter, it is apparent that while DHS has legitimate needs for a large long-term ammunition purchase order for training purposes, there is a lack of spending accountability and public transparency on these purchases that demands corrective action by this committee," said Chairman Carter said Monday in Texas.
Carter says that while his internal investigation shows that over 100,000 federal law enforcement officers under DHS jurisdiction have legitimate needs for large quantities of ammunition for training and quarterly weapons certifications, and that there is no attempt by DHS to stockpile ammunition, there is a lack of accountability on how much ammunition each agency uses, with wide variances in usage between the various agencies under DHS jurisdiction. The Carter investigation revealed that while most agencies use between 500-1000 rounds annually for each law enforcement officer, some have used multiple times more with little explanation.
The Carter investigation also determined that current federal ammunition orders are not a factor in the on-going nationwide ammunition and firearms shortages at the consumer level, according to major ammunition manufacturers and the National Rifle Association. Perceived threats to the 2ndAmendment by the Obama Administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate following the Newtown, Connecticut shootings are instead responsible for spurring a consumer buying spree that has exhausted manufacturing capacity. Inventory levels are expected to recover in coming months as demand subsides as it did eventually after the 2008 elections when the public similarly feared an assault on the right to keep and bear arms.
Inquires by the Chairman further determined that media reports of a DHS fleet of tanks is false. The rumors were found to be based on DHS acquisition of 32 Department of Defense surplus Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored trucks at no cost. Sixteen were allocated to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and 16 were allocated Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) respectively for use in active shooter situations.
Chairman Carter says that while public fears over the recent reports should be allayed by the findings, he is committed to fully investigating any future reports of oversteps by the Administration or the Department of Homeland Security, and in following up on the current concerns.
"We must be ever-vigilant on this subcommittee to ensure that the taxpayers' money for homeland security is well-spent, that there are no oversteps of federal authority,or challenges to the civil rights of American citizens in the process," says Carter.