- WASHINGTON (http://www.nandotimes.com)
- The Army's record-keeping is so poor that it cannot confirm the receipt
of hundreds of millions of dollars in spare parts and other materials,
congressional auditors found.
- The Army could not account for $883 million in shipped
inventory in the 1998 budget year, in addition to confirmed shipment losses
of $297,000 that year, the General Accounting Office said in a report
- "The Army does not know the exact extent to which
shipped inventory is lost or stolen because of weaknesses in inventory
controls and financial management practices," the report said. It
said the Army failed to follow up on late shipments and to maintain records
of shipment losses.
- The $883 million of unconfirmed inventory was not all
lost, the report said. It said the inventory had been shipped from warehouses,
suppliers and other sources but was not acknowledged as received.
- "Some of these shipments that had not been acknowledged
as received may represent additional lost or stolen items," the
report said, adding that the Army's "underlying records are not sufficiently
reliable to determine the extent of losses actually incurred."
- In a written response to a draft of the report, the Defense
Department agreed that changes are needed and said the Army will increase
oversight of shipped inventory. The Army also is in the process of changing
its automation systems so that they retain records of unconfirmed warehoused
material shipments, it said.
- The review of Army procedures for tracking and controlling
spare parts and other inventory items was requested by Sens. Thomas Harkin
of Iowa and Dick Durbin of Illinois and Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon
and Carolyn Maloney of New York, all Democrats. The auditors mainly examined
records at the Army's Aviation and Missile Command, which is responsible
for the largest portion of Army shipped inventory.
- "It's outrageous that the Army lost track of almost
$900 million worth of equipment - some classified or sensitive - and
never bothered to investigate it," Harkin said in a written statement.
- The classified items among the unaccounted for supplies
included guided missile control systems.
- The General Accounting Office report is one in a series
it has produced on the vulnerability of defense inventories to fraud,
waste and abuse.
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