Why is DHS stockpiling so much ammo?

Even realizing that he was going to immediately be labeled as a Right wing conspiracy theorist by the Left, Congressman Jason Chaffetz posed a rather pesky question to the Department of Homeland Security this week which is sure to get a lot of tongues wagging. Why do they need to purchase huge stockpiles of ammunition? Far more, in fact, than the Army buys on a per capita basis.

Homeland Security’s procurement officer is grilled in Congress on why federal agents who rarely fire weapons need several times more bullets annually than an Army officer. Who or what are they shooting at?

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.

Chaffetz notes that DHS is currently sitting on more than 260 million rounds of ammunition. Their current claimed rate of expending bullets works out to between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer each year, while the Army averages 350 per officer. Nyak agreed with the math, but insisted that DHS goes through roughly that amount every year, almost exclusively for training. But if it’s for training, there’s another question to be answered.

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…

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.

That’s a lot of ammo. And that’s one heck of a lot of hollow points to be wasting on paper targets. If you click through to the IBD editorial you’ll find some of the alternate theory explanations of where all this ammunition is going and why the government would want so much. I don’t need to expand on that here. But even if there is a legitimate need for that many rounds just for training in one federal department every year, how much money is being wasted by not using standard rounds for target practice? I wonder if the cost would have kept a couple more airport towers open?

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