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Watchdog: Accountability

Army lost $586 million in equipment, weapons in Afghanistan

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Watchdog,Michal Conger,Army,Afghanistan,National Security,Inspectors General,Defense Spending,Waste and Fraud,Accountability

Poor security and inaccurate records of Army supplies in Afghanistan led to the loss of $586 million in equipment between May 2012 and May 2013, including weapons and other sensitive information.

The Army and civilian contractors oversee equipment at storage areas where extra supplies are inventoried and used to fill shortages. But the inventory is inaccurate and security is weak at the yards, according to the Department of Defense inspector general.

"As a result of poor controls over property accountability at the [storage] yards in Afghanistan, the 401st Army Field Support Brigade has lost control of retail and wholesale equipment at the [storage] yards in Afghanistan," the IG said.

The storage yard teams don't use automated equipment like barcodes to track inventory, and fail to enter all items into the system when it comes in. As a result, when IG inspectors did their review, they found equipment listed as lost that was still in the yard, but they couldn't locate other equipment listed as being in the yard.

Problems with control over inventory continued despite written reports about accountability and security deficiencies, according to the DOD IG.

The lack of security also put sensitive and classified equipment at risk of being compromised, the IG said. The storage teams didn't always wipe hard drives of sensitive information when they arrived, as required by Army regulations, or secure the sensitive equipment with locked storage or monitoring.

A major problem with accountability at the yards was the Army's lack of oversight over contractors in charge of the inventory. The Army didn't ensure the contractors were keeping tabs on equipment, or hold contractors accountable for poor performance like lack of security or inaccurate inventory, the IG said.

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