Documents Show 1033 Program Still Resulting In Lots Of Lost Weapons And Other Abuse

from the surely-you-can-trust-a-few-thousand-cops? dept

The Pentagon’s 1033 program is a case study in unintended consequences. The idea — put military equipment back into service rather than simply scrapping it — has some merit. The actual deployment has been a nightmare.

The Dept. of Defense wondered who could possibly make use of military weapons, armor and vehicles, and came to an almost-logical conclusion. Law enforcement agencies became the military’s little brother, taking ownership of cheap/free hand-me-downs and putting them to use in the War at Home.

Of course, a militaristic mindset evolved to match the acquired gear. Police departments became armies and citizens, combatants. Worse, the program was badly mismanaged and subject to very little oversight. The DoD had no idea how much equipment it had dispensed and the agencies on the receiving end weren’t much better at tracking their own inventories.

Shawn Musgrave has obtained two mostly-depressing spreadsheets from the Dept. of Defense listing law enforcement agencies which are currently suspended from the program, or have been in the past. He sent this “expedited request” during the Ferguson fallout, during which the DOJ itself expressed concern about the military aura the local PD projected. Not that the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency cared about the timeliness of its response. 14 months after issuing his “please hurry” request, the DLA has finally responded.

The lists contain plenty of suspensions for lost weapons, which possibly means military-grade weapons are in the hands of private citizens. The lists also contain intriguing redactions and a few moments of WTF-ness.

For instance, an Arkansas county coroner’s office is participating in the program for reasons unknown. It could be that it only used the program to obtain harmless office equipment, but if so, it seems these sorts of acquisitions — no matter how badly handled or poorly inventoried — would not result in a suspension. The question of why it was suspended remains unanswered.

Reason can not be released at this per State Coordinators request.

And the state of North Carolina appears to have gone rogue. Among the many agencies listed as “terminated” by the DLA is the state’s Parks and Recreation department.


North Dakota is possibly headed for a bloodbath, seeing as its Highway Patrol has misplaced a street gang’s-worth of weapons.

DURING PCR ON JULY 23, 2013, 159 WEAPONS WERE UNABLE TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR BY A SIGNED CUSTODY RECEIPT

And one wonders how this sort of situation arises, considering the logistics required to make it happen in the first place. (Richland County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina)

Misappropriation of aircraft

The list of agencies no longer suspended from the program isn’t exactly heartening. The Searcy (AR) Police Dept. is back in the DLA’s good graces despite the ATF serving a search warrant for its (former) police chief.


And we discover that the Richland County Sheriff’s Office isn’t the only South Carolina agency to abuse 1033 aircraft.


Many of those on the “Unsuspended” list have never recovered weapons they reported as lost or stolen, but have been designated by the Office of the Inspector General as “cold cases.” Once the trail goes dead, so does the suspension, apparently.

In other oddities, it appears the entire state of Montana took a year off from performing required 1033 inventories and the nation’s biggest, baddest police force — the NYPD — faced (briefly) the threat of termination for reasons not detailed in the responsive documents.

So, in other words, it’s business as usual for the 1033 program. Even those “responsibly” partaking in the program are loading up with military gear which they then deploy against combatants citizens in war zones their communities.



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Comments on “Documents Show 1033 Program Still Resulting In Lots Of Lost Weapons And Other Abuse”

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33 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Mountains out of molehills

DURING PCR ON JULY 23, 2013, 159 WEAPONS WERE UNABLE TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR BY A SIGNED CUSTODY RECEIPT

Come on now, who hasn’t ‘misplaced’ 100+ military surplus weapons at one time or another? You make it sound like this is something notable, rather than just a tiny, insignificant mistake.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to add North Dakota to my ‘Do not visit, EVER’ list, for reasons that are completely unrelated to the above.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Mountains out of molehills

A: I swear, it was right here last night!

B: Right, no need to panic, let’s think about this logically. You’re sure it was here when you went off your shift last night? You can’t think of any reason for why it might be missing?

A: … uhhhh.

B: What did you do?

A: I… may have had a few drinks that night.

B: How many is ‘a few’?

A: … two?

B: Two beers? That’s not too-

A: No, two… uh… six-packs.

B: Two six- where did you go that you drank twelve beers?!

A: Well you see, a friend was throwing a party, and I thought, ‘You know what would really impress people? If I showed them the humvee we’ve got.’ One quick requisition later-

B: No, just stop. I don’t want to know. So after you downed all that beer, and showed off the humvee, then what?

A: I… think I remember a few people asking me what it was like riding in it, so I decided to give a few rides, give people something to remember. Not really sure what happened after that, next thing I knew I was waking up with a pounding headache at home, with a sloppily scrawled ‘invoice’ for a dozen burritos, with ‘1 hmvee’ written at the bottom where the price would have been.

B: …

A: …

B: Sigh You know what, screw it. We’ll tell them we lost it, leave it vague and hope no-one asks for details.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Mountains out of molehills

You say that jokingly, but we don’t really know how many weapons they acquired, so this really could be a tiny percentage and a relatively insignificant loss.

North Dakota is pretty large and they need a huge military…I mean police force to keep their hostages…I mean citizens under control…I mean safe.

And as far as getting them back off of the naughty list and receiving equipment again? Well, there are 159 military grade weapons in the hands of potentially dangerous criminals – we need them back in business as quickly as possible.

David says:

"Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

What use has a police department for a grenade launcher? Of course they would sell these off to interested drug lords so that they have the small change for buying Stingrays allowing them to know in advance when people are going to carry money around that could be seized in the course of the war against drugs.

AJ says:

Re: "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

Your typical 40mm grenade launcher, usually either a M79 style or M203 (soon to be replaced with the M320)can shoot a variety of rounds including CS gas (riot control), Flares (for illuminating search areas for search and rescue, and star clusters (for signaling). I could see your city riot patrol, or your search and rescue teams using such equipment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

WHAT???!!!
No, that can’t be true.
How can we be all outraged and stuff about “Military Weapons” in the hands of mere police officers when you go all factual and provide very real scenarios for said “Military Weapons”.
That does not fit with my world view, so I will choose to ignore any further factual comments and I demand that everyone else do the same! It seems to be working for Obama and his stance on the “JV team”.

AJ says:

Re: Re: Re: "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

I’m sure there is some abuse, I’m not saying there’s not. But it really does seem logical that in the day and age of shrinking budgets and financial scrutiny, military surplus at drastically reduced prices would be an attractive alternative to commercial law enforcement equipment. You would of course still have to use some discretion such as; Regardless of the discount, does a local police department really need a tank?…etc…etc…

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

I think I would go more along the lines of: since the military has an outlet for their surplus they feel free to create more surplus.

A better argument might be telling the military to buy more along the lines of what they need, buy better so it does not wear out so quickly, and require that it be recyclable, just not to law enforcement but to the manufacturing of whatever is next, for a discount.

AJ says:

Re: Re: Re:3 "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

The M79 has been in service since 1961, the M203 since 1969. After being on the battlefield, I can tell you that I do not want my weapons designed based on being able to be recycled or “wearing out quickly (within reason)”. I want the latest technology, newer properly broken in weapons that give me, and the rest of my team, the maximum opportunity to survive. If that means the weapon lasts 2 years before it is pulled out of service and replaced, so be it.

Better does not always equal not wearing out so quickly. In some cases, it’s exactly the opposite. There are even cases where weapons that are considered disposable are extremely effective. The M72 and AT4 light anti tank weapon comes to mind.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

Those weapons made from metal? Then they are recyclable. Is it impossible to better estimate ammunition usage? Then there should be less surplus. Should Congress be able to authorize weapons and military doesn’t want? Not in any reasonable realm I can think of

Things can, and should be better.

No one here suggests that we should not support those on the front lines. Many here suggest that the front lines we are on are wrongheaded at the least, and something much worse at the most.

AJ says:

Re: Re: Re:5 "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

“Then they are recyclable.”

Who said they were not recycled? The military typically tries to recycle everything, all the way down the very brass in the shell casings when it’s possible. “Military Surplus” includes weapons that were made so well, that technology surpassed them and rendered them obsolete, even though they are still serviceable. There may be some cases of over manufacturing, but even then they try to sell the weapons off to our allies.

“Should Congress be able to authorize weapons and military doesn’t want? Not in any reasonable realm I can think of”

That’s a different issue altogether, an issue created by politicians.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Lost" weapons aren't "abuse"

No way in hell these guys (military-washouts?) are just living out their wannabe-fantasies.

Surplus is great for saving money, and things like ‘grenade launchers’ can have legitimate uses. But the savings only work for things that are actually needed and used. Things like MRAPS can cost $50K/yr in maintenance. That’s not ‘cost effective’ when they’re nothing but Disneyland rides for joeboys.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wow, that’s… A whole state gone doomsday prepper right there. And here i thought it was something slightly more innocuous, like the Home Ports program attempted by the navy during the Reagan base-closure years. ‘Because most people in the middle of America haven’t seen a real naval vessel with guns and things and flags’.

Yes, that is damn close to a verbatim quote. The last 6 words totally are.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Abuse

Only if you’re the police. People in the military seem to actually respect the weapons they use, and realize how much damage they can cause. Police on the other hand seem to treat them as toys, something flashy they can use to get the ‘respect’ they so desperately demand.

Lose a weapon? Problem, it needs to be found now before it falls into the wrong hands and someone is hurt, accidentally or otherwise.

Lose a toy? Eh, no big deal, there’s always more where that one came from.

Anonymous Coward says:

At least the rulers of the winning team after WW2 dumped their excess weapons of WAR into the deep blue seas when coming back home to base.

Just imagine if all those weapons of WAR were introduced into the peaceful communities back in the late 1940’s & 1950’s how the outcome of the Western world would have changed from what went on instead.

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