Inventory Management

Handheld Missiles Are Vulnerable to Theft and Undetected Losses Gao ID: NSIAD-94-100 September 16, 1994

Among other discrepancies, 40 deadly Stinger missiles shipped to the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War could not be accounted for when GAO visited military storage sites to check the inventory of handheld missiles--the Stinger, Redeye, and Dragon. In all, inventory records differed from GAO's physical count by thousands of missiles. The military services do not know how many of these missiles they have in their possession because they have not established systems to track the missiles produced, fired, destroyed, sold, and transferred by serial number. Lax military oversight and recordkeeping have left these missiles, which are in demand by terrorists and drug dealers, vulnerable to theft.

GAO found that: (1) there are many serious discrepancies in the quantities, locations, and serial numbers of Category I missiles inventoried, which indicates that the services' oversight and recordkeeping for the missiles is poor; (2) the loss of control over these missiles during the Persian Gulf War was due to relaxed regulations, the desire to expedite deployment and return of troops, and the failure to keep records; (3) the services do not know how many missiles they should have in their possession because they lack systems to track the missiles by serial number; (4) physical counts differ from inventory records by thousands of missiles; (5) the Navy and Marine Corps are currently performing an inventory of their missiles by serial number and the Army is working to establish an inventory control system based on serial numbers; (6) 40 percent of missile storage sites do not have accurate data on the quantity and serial numbers of their on-hand inventories; (7) the services do not uniformly apply physical security measures at missile storage sites; and (8) although no alleged theft of missiles has been confirmed, poor recordkeeping makes detection almost impossible.


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