(Caroline May) The Department of Homeland Security plans to purchase 75.1 million rounds of ammunition at a cost of $22.7 million this year, according to a newly released report from the Government Accountability Office.
GAO reports that DHS has over 70,000 firearm-carrying personnel and that the ammo purchases go largely to firearm training and qualification requirements.
“DHS components maintain inventories of ammunition to help ensure they have sufficient ammunition for the training and operational needs of their officers, as there can be months-long delays between placing an order for ammunition and receiving it,” GAO reports. “As of October 2013, DHS estimates it had approximately 159 million rounds in inventory, enough to last about 22 months to meet the training and operational needs of its firearm-carrying personnel.”
According to the GAO, DHS’ annual ammunition purchases have been on the decline since FY 2009 and are about at the same level as the Department of Justice’s ammo purchases.
In 2013, DHS purchases 84.4 million rounds of ammo at a cost of $19.9 million; in 2012 it bought 96 rounds at a cost of $30.3 million; 2011 it bought 100.3 million for $30.2; in 2010 it purchased 117 million for $31.6 million; and in 2009 the department bought 132.9 rounds for $33.8 million.
GAO notes that the department is planning to buy 75.1 million rounds for $22.7 million this year.
DHS officials told GAO that the decline in level of ammo purchases in 2013 was largely due to a tightening budget, “which meant reducing the number of training classes, and drawing on their ammunition inventories.”
“From fiscal years 2008 through 2013, DHS purchased an average of 109 million rounds of ammunition for training, qualification, and operational needs, according to DHS data,” GAO reports. “DHS’s ammunition purchases over the 6-year period equates to an average of 1,200 rounds purchased per firearm-carrying agent or officer per year. Over the past 3 fiscal years (2011-2013), DHS purchased an average of 1,000 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer and selected DOJ components purchased 1,300 rounds per firearm-carrying agent or officer.”