In Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffertz is trying to get to the bottom of the Department of Homeland Security’s ammunition stockpiling, and uncovers the fact that the DHS is using about 4.5 times more ammunition for training than the US Army.
Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Thursday asked Nick Nayak, DHS’ chief procurement officer, a question we and others have been asking: Why has the Department of Homeland Security been buying so much ammunition?
Dismissed as a concern only of right-wing conspiracy theorists, the reported amounts as high as 2 billion rounds have varied and been explained not as a one-time purchase but a bulk buy over five years to reduce costs. It’s one of the rare instances, apparently, a government agency has actually cared about such a thing.
Nayak appeared before Chaffetz’s House oversight subcommittee to do what Obama administration officials are loath to do the actual math. Chaffetz has, and his number-crunching raises more questions than DHS has answered to date.
Chaffetz noted that the department currently has more than 260 million rounds in stock. He said the department bought more than 103 million rounds in 2012 and used 116 million that same year among roughly 70,000 agents.
Comparing that with the small-arms purchases by the U.S. Army, he said the DHS is churning through between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer per year, while the Army goes through roughly 350 per officer.
Nayak, acknowledging that the five-tear potential bullet buy could be as high as 750 million rounds, did not contest Chaffetz’s math and said the massive buys were needed for training. DHS has procured “approximately 120 million rounds of ammunition per year of all calibers and types and fired approximately the same number of rounds per year, almost exclusively for training purposes,” according to Nayak’s testimony.
Another question asked is, why is the Social Security Administration buying up so many hollow-point bullets which aren’t practical for use in training?
Jonathan L. Lasher, the Social Security Administration’s assistant inspector general for external relations, has previously explained the purchase of 174,000 hollow-point bullets by saying they were for the Social Security inspector general’s office.
Its 295 agents investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes. When they say they are cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse, they apparently mean it.
Another question is why so many hollow-point bullets are being purchased?
As former Marine Richard Mason recently told reporters with WHPTV News in Pennsylvania, hollow-points (which make up the bulk of the DHS purchases) are not used for training because they are more expensive than standard firing-range rounds. “We never trained with hollow points. We didn’t even see hollow points my entire 4-1/2 (years) in the Marine Corps,” Mason said.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I still think the intent here is to buy up ammunition to exacerbate shortages in the private sector. With the feds buying up so much ammo, prices for private-sector purchasers goes through the roof. Which makes gun ownership and use all the more difficult and expensive.
It’s not hard to believe that the anti-gun Obama administration sees that as a plus.