Report | June 11, 2021

Audit of the Department of Defense’s Sea Transportation and Storage of Arms, Ammunition, and Explosives (DODIG-2021-093)


Publicly Released: June 15, 2021



The objective of this audit was to determine whether the DoD transported arms, ammunition, and explosives (AA&E) by sea in accordance with DoD regulations.



The Defense Transportation Regulation (DTR) provides the overall requirements for transportation within the DoD, including the transportation of AA&E by sea. The regulation requires the DoD to use ships that the Military Sealift Command charters or controls, or privately owned U.S. commercial ships managed by Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC). However, Military Sealift Command and the SDDC may approve use of commercially operated foreign ships if DoD or U.S. commercial ship usage requirements cannot be met.

The Military Services and Joint Munitions Command (JMC) generate AA&E requirements. An SDDC traffic management specialist then selects either a Government‑owned ship (that the Military Sealift Command will manage), or a contracted privately owned U.S. commercial ship (that the SDDC will manage) to transport AA&E overseas. The SDDC prepares a Stow Plan detailing the location of the AA&E aboard the ship using the Integrated Computerized Deployment System. When the AA&E arrives at the seaport of embarkation (a port where cargo is loaded onto a ship), SDDC personnel separate the cargo for sea shipment then complete a final Stow Plan for where and how to store cargo onboard the ship.



DoD officials followed requirements in the DTR for preplanning, loading, inspecting, and unloading AA&E shipments by sea, including maintaining 101 of 105 (96 percent) required documents for the 30 AA&E shipments in our sample. DoD officials could not provide one of the four remaining documents, and the other three were provided but did not contain the correct control number. When asked, SDDC officials did not provide an explanation for the one missing document. The three documents contained incorrect control numbers because the shipper (JMC) included the control number for one of the individual pieces of cargo within the container, but the JMC officials were supposed to use the control number for the overall shipping container. As a result of following DTR requirements for preplanning, loading, inspecting, and unloading AA&E shipments by sea, DoD officials ensured the safe and secure movement of AA&E from the United States to Germany, Qatar, South Korea, and Kuwait.



We recommend that the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command update the DTR to specify which transportation control number should be used on the DD Form 1907, “Signature and Tally Record,” for containerized shipments. We also recommend that the JMC Commander implement a control for depots to follow the DTR requirement to place copies of required forms in waterproof envelopes, and attach envelopes outside and inside the transportation container doors.



This report is the result of Proj. No. D2020‑D000RK‑0103.000.