My Army Unit Has No Bullets for Soldiers to Train, While DHS Stockpiles Ammo
My Army National Guard Unit went to Camp Swift in Texas last month to do our annual weapons qualification. As soldiers, we are supposed to be good at shooting, right? To be good at shooting we have to practice, right? Unfortunately, soldiers in the military have just not been able to get the ammunition needed to do, well, anything in the form of quality individual weapons training. Why? We just do not have the ammunition is what we have been told. So as the Department of Homeland Security stockpiles ammunition, real soldiers are facing a shortage of bullets.
Last month when we went to the range to qualify, each soldier only had 18 bullets to group and zero the rifle. Then it was on to the qualification range where each soldier only got one chance to qualify. If a soldier did not qualify in that one chance, then they did not get a second chance unless there was extra ammunition at the end of the day. Keep in mind that many of these soldiers do not even shoot a rifle until once a year weapons qualification. United States soldiers should be given the ammunition required to have more than just a once a year one chance to qualify. They should be able to practice and become proficient. If they need more than 18 rounds to group and zero, then they should get it. They should get as many rounds it takes for a soldier to fix what they are doing wrong and to practice enough to be able to consistently pass the minimum weapons qualification score. When soldiers get deployed in a war zone, they do not throw flowers at the enemy, they shoot a rifle.
This apparent ammo shortage that soldiers are facing is even more disturbing with the knowledge that the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling ammunition. Recently, several Congressmen, including Republican Representatives Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz, have openly criticized the Department of Homeland Security for having over 1000 more bullets per DHS officer than what the military has per Army soldier. Seriously? DHS officers have a nearly unlimited number of bullets for training while soldiers training for war do not even have enough bullets to qualify at the range once a year? This is ridiculous.
This stockpiling of ammunition by the DHS has mostly been talked about on blogs and conservative news sites. Finally, the mainstream media and even congressmen are starting to notice the alarming amount of ammunition that the DHS has per officer compared to the much smaller amount that the Army has per soldier. This is not just some conspiracy. I know first hand the ammo shortage that soldiers face. I am not speaking for the military, I am only speaking from my experience of going to the range to qualify with fellow soldiers and being told that we do not have enough ammo.
To further put things into perspective, Texas Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold tells TexasGOPVote that the DHS has more ammo sitting in storage right now than the total amount of ammo that the DHS bought in all of the 2010 and 2011 combined. Farenthold tells TexasGOPVote, "I was extremely alarmed by these claims. These reports raise many questions – but the most glaring to me is why would DHS need such a high volume of ammunition? My colleagues and I have been actively investigating DHS to get this answer, among others, on its seemingly excessive purchase." According to DHS’ latest inventory audit, it currently has 263.7 million rounds of ammunition on hand.
Average citizens are also being affected by this ammo shortage. The large purchases that government agencies have made recently are possibly creating a massive shortage that has prevented American citizens from being able to buy ammo. I personally have not even been able to get any ammo in months! U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK-3) Friday introduced in their respective chambers the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability (AMMO) Act of 2013. The legislation would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a report on the purchasing of ammunition by federal agencies, except the Department of Defense, and its effect on the supply of ammunition available to the public. The AMMO Act would restrict agencies from obtaining additional ammunition for a six-month period if current agency stockpiles are higher than its monthly averages prior to the Obama Administration.