Report faults Pentagon's buying of spare parts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Pentagon agency buys over $7 billion worth of spare parts every year the Defense Department ends up not needing, a practice one senator decried as an "unbelievable" waste of taxpayer money.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a new report released on Thursday that the Defense Logistics Agency had no use for parts worth $7.1 billion, more than half of the $13.7 billion in equipment stacked in Defense Department warehouses on average from 2006 to 2008.
"The waste of taxpayer dollars is unbelievable," said Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent and Senate Budget Committee member who requested the study.
"At a time when the country has a $13 trillion national debt and is struggling with huge unmet needs, it is outrageous that the Defense Department continues to waste huge sums of money for spare parts that the military doesn't need."
The GAO, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, examined purchases by the agency from 2006 through 2008 at the logistics agency, which provides parts and supplies for everything from groceries to jet fuel.
It was the fourth in a series of GAO reports about similar problems in the Army, Air Force and Navy. Earlier reports found Army parts depots had $3.6 billion worth of unneeded supplies, the Navy had an average of $7.5 billion worth of unneeded spare parts and the Air Force had some $18.7 billion in unneeded supplies, more than half of its spare parts inventory.
The report also showed that more than $700 million in parts
for U.S. troops at war were not available when they were needed, Sanders said.
The latest report said the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) on several factors was bad at forecasting what the armed services needed and inaccurately estimated how long it would take the suppliers to produce and ship products.
It said the agency had begun to address many of the issues, but big gaps remained between spare parts inventory and requirements, which cut funding available for other needs.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Andre Grenon)
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