The Department of Defense introduced new measures to its process of keeping track of its guns and explosives to combat a problem with lost or stolen military weapons making their way onto the streets of America.
An Associated Press investigation found that the U.S. military has a problem with missing weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, handguns, armor-piercing grenades, artillery shells, mortars, grenade launchers, and plastic explosives.
Under the National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon will now have to provide Congress with an annual report on weapons loss and security. AP’s investigation found that military officials neglected to advise lawmakers of their ongoing AWOL weapons problem.
“Clearly the accountability on this issue was stopping at too low of a level,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a U.S. Army veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee who supported the reforms.
Under the new requirements, “if there are hundreds of missing weapons in that report, members of Congress are going to see it and they are going to be asked about it publicly and held accountable for it,” Crow said.
The U.S. Army significantly altered how its units report missing, lost, or stolen weapons. The new system utilizes Vantage software, giving commanders a real-time look at any AWOL weapons.
The National Defense Authorization Act also requires the Secretary of Defense to report confirmed thefts or recoveries of weapons to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
According to AP, the other branches are implementing reforms as well.
“The Marine Corps said it is developing internal procedures for improved oversight through increased inspections of units. The Navy required units to notify a higher headquarters when reporting weapons losses. The Air Force has replaced its munitions property book system with a commercial application,” the outlet said.