DHS Contracted to Purchase 704 Million Rounds of Ammo Over Next 4 Years: 2,500 Rounds Per Officer

February 19, 2014 - 3:54 PM

bullets

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is contracted to purchase 704,390,250 rounds of ammunition over the next four years, which is equal to a total of about 2,500 rounds per DHS agent per year, according to a January 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled Ammunition Purchases Have Declined Since 2009.

“If DHS were to purchase all 704 million rounds over the next four years, and if they were used by 70,000 DHS agents and officers, it would be roughly 2,500 rounds per agent per year,” David Maurer, author of the GAO report, told CNSNews.com.

“That would be higher than what we saw in past years at DHS and higher than the average annual number of rounds per agent or officer at the Department of Justice (DOJ)," he said.

“The 704,390,250 number of rounds is like a ceiling or credit limit which DHS wouldn’t have to fully execute,” said Maurer.  “It’s there to use over the next four years until fiscal year 2018, if DHS needed to purchase those rounds.”

In Appendix III of the GAO report, “Department of Homeland Security Ammunition Contracts, as of October 1, 2013,” it states that “the 29 existing DHS ammunition contracts extend over the next 4 fiscal years and have a remaining contract limit of approximately 704 million rounds (for various ammunition types) if every option for purchasing ammunition were exercised into fiscal year 2018.”

DHS Contracted To Purchase 704 Million Rounds of Ammo Over Next 4 Years: 2,500 Rounds Per Officer

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in training. (DHS)

The appendix puts the contract ceiling cost at $285,356,645 for the 704,390,250 rounds of ammo.

As of October 2013, the DHS had a total amount of 159 million ammunition rounds on hand in inventory (see p. 22 in report), which when divided by the estimated number of DHS officers of 70,000, comes to about 2,271 rounds per agent.

To put these numbers in perspective, the report provides data on how many rounds were actually bought and how many rounds would typically be needed during training.

“We analyzed DHS data on ammunition purchases and the size of the firearm-carrying workforce for fiscal years 2008 through 2013 and found the average number of rounds of ammunition purchased per year per firearm-carrying agent or officer by component for this time period ranged between approximately 1,000 and 2,000 rounds,” said the report.

“This variation exists because each component independently decides, based on its operational needs, how much ammunition to allocate to its firearm-carrying personnel for training and qualification each year,” said the report. “For example, FPS provides each officer 250 rounds per quarter per handgun for firearm qualification, while ICE provides 100 rounds per quarter per handgun for firearm qualification.”

In fiscal year 2013, 900 rounds were bought per agent or officer at DHS and 1,200 rounds were bought per agent or officer at DOJ.

DHS Contracted To Purchase 704 Million Rounds of Ammo Over Next 4 Years: 2,500 Rounds Per Officer

Department of Homeland Security logo. (DHS)

“According to CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] data, new Border Patrol agents each use approximately 3,300 rounds during training and qualification, compared with experienced officers who might use about 600 rounds," reads the report. "DHS components provided data on the amount of ammunition typically used by a new law enforcement hire, which ranged from 2,000 to 5,000 rounds."

“At both DHS and DOJ, federal law enforcement agents and officers are authorized to carry firearms, and are required to train in their use and pass certain firearms qualification standards,” reads the report.  “Firearms proficiency is a key component of an officer’s ability to successfully fulfill the component’s mission and protect life and public safety."

The report continues, "To help ensure the firearms proficiency of their firearm-carrying workforce, these agencies purchase a variety of types of ammunition for training, qualifications, and operational purposes.”

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