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U.S. Special Operations Command’s Management of Excess Equipment

DODIG-2018-100

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Objective:

We determined whether U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) was identifying excess equipment and storing only equipment with valid requirements in its inventory. We nonstatistically selected five Special Operations–Peculiar (SO-P) equipment programs to include in the audit—Binocular Night Vision Device, Future Assault Shell Technology- Helmet, Next Generation Tactical Communication Capability (Handheld Radio), Sensitive Site Exploitation‑Biometrics, and Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures.

Background:

USSOCOM provides SO-P equipment to USSOCOM units. USSOCOM establishes the requirements for SO-P equipment through an internal review and approval process, culminating with the final approval of SO-P equipment requirements by the Vice Commander, USSOCOM. During the review and approval process, USSOCOM establishes the total amount of the SO-P equipment needed to perform USSOCOM missions (authorized allowance). USSOCOM also determines the amount of the authorized allowance to be allocated to each Service Component commands, theater special operations commands, and other users.

SO-P equipment authorizations are recorded in the USSOCOM Table of Equipment Distribution and Allowances (USTEDA). The USTEDA is designed to maintain the authorization and allocation quantities for SO-P equipment, identify the total USSOCOM authorization, and indicate the amount of equipment allocated to the Service Component commands, the theater special operations commands, and the program manager.

DoD Manual 4140.01, Volume 6, defines excess equipment as equipment that is more than the amount needed to meet mission requirements and is subject to return, redistribution, or disposal. USSOCOM Directive 700-22 defines excess equipment as SO-P equipment that exceeds the command’s authorized allowance. Therefore, to identify excess SO-P equipment, USSOCOM officials must know the authorized allowance for each SO-P equipment program and the amount allocated to each Service Component command. USSOCOM officials must then compare those amounts to the SO-P equipment inventory. If inventory is more than the overall authorized allowance or the Service Component command has more than its allocation, the equipment is excess. Excess equipment could result from USSOCOM erroneously buying more equipment than authorized, from distributing equipment incorrectly, or from a failure to dispose of equipment replaced by newer models.

Findings:

USSOCOM did not identify that the Service Component commands’ inventory exceeded their allocation for three of the five SO-P programs included in our nonstatistical sample. Across the three programs with excess equipment, we identified excess SO-P equipment with a value of at least $26.3 million. For example, USSOCOM did not identify that the U.S. Army Special Operations Command had 17,571 handheld radios according to its property records but was allocated only 13,351 in the capability documents, for an excess of 4,220 radios.

USSOCOM did not identify excess SO-P equipment because the authorized allowance and allocation data in the USTEDA were not accurate or complete, and could not be reconciled with inventory. In addition, USSOCOM guidance did not require periodic reconciliations between the inventory and the USTEDA to identify excess SO-P equipment for redistribution or disposition.

As a result, USSOCOM is not effectively managing excess SO-P equipment in the programs reviewed. Because USSOCOM officials were not identifying excess equipment at the Service Component commands, USSOCOM was not aware that there was excess equipment available for redistribution to the Service Component commands or disposal if all the commands had reached their full allocation of authorized allowances. For example, USSOCOM allocated kits to the Naval Special Warfare Command. According to the Naval Special Warfare Command accountable property system of record, the command had excess kits. Had USSOCOM identified those kits as excess, the kits could have been redistributed to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, which had not received its full allocation.

Recommendations:

We recommend that the Commander, USSOCOM:

  • Update USSOCOM guidance to include detailed procedures for reporting and updating SO-P equipment authorizations and allocations in the USTEDA. The procedures should provide clear and concise policy outlining the source of the authorization data and how this data should be presented, and should establish periodic reviews of the information to ensure that the authorizations match the capability documents.
  • Direct a review of existing SO-P equipment authorizations and allocations and update the USTEDA and all systems and documents that contain authorizations and allocations accordingly.
  • Update USSOCOM guidance to include detailed procedures for conducting periodic reconciliations of SO-P equipment authorizations and allocations to inventory.
  • Direct a reconciliation of SO-P equipment authorizations and allocations to inventory based on the updated guidance, and if excess equipment is identified, redistribute or dispose of the excess equipment.

Management Comments and Our Response:

The USSOCOM Director, Special Operations Forces, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, agreed with the report finding and all of the recommendations. The Director agreed to update USSOCOM guidance to include detailed procedures for reporting and updating SO-P equipment authorizations and allocations in the USTEDA. He stated that once USSOCOM updates guidance to establish procedures for capturing and reporting authorizations, the USSOCOM Directorate of Logistics will compare the authorizations in the requirements documents to the USTEDA and modify the USTEDA as needed.

The Director, Special Operations Forces, Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, also agreed to direct a reconciliation of SO-P equipment authorizations and allocations to inventory based on the updated guidance, and if excess equipment is identified, redistribute or dispose of the excess equipment.

We consider all recommendations resolved, and we will close the recommendations once we verify that USSOCOM has completed the specific actions proposed in the management comments.