DHS Finally Responds to Senate Demand for Ammo Info but its Numbers Don't Pencil Out

DHS Finally Responds to Senate Demand for Ammo Info but its Numbers Don't Pencil Out
By Joe Miller
Friday, April 05, 2013

Last fall, Senator Coburn sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding an explanation by the end of November for the agency's reported purchase of massive quantities of ammunition. Yesterday, Dr. Coburn released correspondence that he finally received from DHS purporting to explain the purchases.

First, here's what was disclosed by DHS: As of November 2012, it had over 263 million rounds of ammunition on hand. The agency said it was purchasing an additional $37 million of ammunition in this fiscal year, but did not give the actual number of rounds. Using the prior year's cost per round of approximately 35 cents, it appears that DHS is adding another 105 million rounds on top of the 263 million on hand, minus rounds consumed in training and operations this fiscal year.

Using this 363 million round figure, the agency's explanation for its large purchases can be assessed. For Immigration (ICE), DHS claims that 1,000 rounds per firearm per year are necessary for training. Assuming training of 250 rounds per quarter, this estimate seems reasonable. The Federal Protective Service or "FPS" (the agency charged with protecting federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration) also uses "1000 rounds of ammunition per firearm per year for quarterly qualifications and training." Again, another reasonable number. Curiously, no average training rounds per firearm for any other component agency of DHS is provided. For US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), DHS gives a percentage, stating that 70% of all CBP ammo is used for training. The remaining 30% of CBP's ammo stock is purportedly maintained for operational needs (20%) and reserves (10%). For USSS (the Secret Service), 60% of its ammo is used for

Another quirk in DHS's explanation is that the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), whose mission is to "train those who protect our homeland" by training personnel from 91 federal agencies, has another approximately 35 million training rounds (almost 19 million on hand in November 2012 plus the estimated 16.6 million purchased this fiscal year) that are supposedly in addition to training rounds maintained by the other individual DHS component agencies like ICE, CPB, and FPS.

So, really, the only way to properly assess the numbers from DHS – assuming that the agency has actually come clean on its inventories and future purchases – is to divide the ammunition stocks by the number of armed personnel.

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