Ammunition worth $1.2 billion, much of it still usable, is going to go up in smoke because the Pentagon is using antiquated inventory systems and different service branches can't share data effectively, a Government Accountability Office report says. Despite decades of trying to develop a single database, only the Army uses the standard Pentagon system, while the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps have their own systems, resulting in huge amounts of waste as excess ammunition piles up in one service branch while another buys fresh supplies, according to the report obtained by USA Today.
Billions of dollars could be saved if the Pentagon makes some "common-sense improvements to how it manages ammunition," says Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "Despite years of effort, the Army, Navy, and Air Force still don't have an efficient process for doing something as basic as sharing excess bullets," the Democrat says. The Pentagon, which manages a stockpile of around $70 billion in ammunition, said in a statement that there is clearly a need to "automate the process" and it will be made a priority in future. (Read more ammunition stories.)