Pentagon to Report to Congress on Missing Weapons Following Media Investigation
21:51 GMT 21.12.2021 (Updated: 18:28 GMT 03.11.2022)
The reform demanding more accountability on missing weapons from the Pentagon is included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by Congress earlier in the month and is now expected to be signed by US President Joe Biden.
The US Department of Defense will change its approach to keeping track of missing weapons hitting America's streets, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The reforms under the NDAA follow an AP investigation into missing weapons that later hit US streets, among them assault rifles, machine guns, handguns, armour-piercing grenades, artillery shells, mortars and others.
The Pentagon must now assemble an annual report to Congress on the loss of weapons. In order to do so, the military will reform the way it accounts for weapons and explosives.
“Clearly the accountability on this issue was stopping at too low of a level,” Democratic Representative Jason Crow, who supported the reforms, told the AP. "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.”
Among the coming reforms will be an overhaul of the procedure of military response to law enforcement investigations, as well as a long-awaited digitization of records.
Particularly, according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Brandon Kelley, the US Army is now developing an app that would search the property record database of each service. The Marine Corps said it will review its internal procedures for improved oversight and increased inspection of units. In the Navy, units will be required to notify a higher level of authority when reporting the loss of a weapon, and the Air Force is also said to have replaced its munitions property books with a commercial network application.
The new NDAA requirements envisage the Defense Secretary reporting confirmed thefts or recovery of weapons to the National Crime Information Center, run by the FBI.
The reports highlighting the problem of weapons missing from the US military emerged in June, with Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Mark Milley saying that he would mull a “systematic fix" in how the military accounts for its weapons, even though the Pentagon claimed at the time that they could account for over 99.9% of firearms.
The June report pointed to how the Army could not account for over 1,500 weapons, with many reportedly later used in violent crime.