The US military lost track of $1 billion worth of arms bound for Iraq and Kuwait, according to a US Department of Defense audit obtained by Amnesty International.
The government audit, from September 2016, reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment pouring into Kuwait and Iraq to provision the Iraqi Army.
This audit provides a worrying insight into the US Army’s flawed – and potentially dangerous – system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region, said Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s arms control and human rights researcher.
Commenting on the implications of the flaw, Wilcken said: “It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State [Daesh].”
The military transfers came under the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF). The DoD investigation, which examined whether the US Army had effective controls for processing and transferring the equipment to the Government of Iraq, reported that in 2015, US Congress appropriated $1.6 billion for the program to combat the advance of Daesh.
The report also revealed that the transfers include tens of thousands of assault rifles worth $28 million, hundreds of mortar rounds and hundreds of Humvee armored vehicles, which were destined for use by the central Iraqi Army, including the predominantly Shia Popular Mobilisation Units, as well as the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
In its audit, the DoD found several serious shortcomings in how ITEF equipment was logged and monitored from the point of delivery onward, including fragmentary record-keeping in arms depots in Kuwait and Iraq and incomplete records meaning those responsible for the equipment were unable to ascertain its location or status.
Amnesty believes that the lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command has resulted in arms manufactured in the USA and other countries winding up in the hands of armed groups known to be committing war crimes and other atrocities, such as Daesh, as well as paramilitary militias now incorporated into the Iraqi army.
Read the Department of Defense’ Audit Report:
DoD IG Audit Repor
Equipping and Training Iraq and Afghan Security Forces
The Army Did Not Implement Effective Controls To Maintain Visibility and Accountability of Iraq Train and Equip Fund Equipment (Project No. D2016D000JB0104.000)
Click the following link to view the redacted version of this report: http://www.dodig.mil/FOIA/err/DODIG2016134.pdf
We determined whether the Army had effective controls for processing and transferring Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF) equipment to the Government of Iraq. This is the third in a series of audits on property accountability in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
ITEF, created by the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, assists the Government of Iraq to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Examples of ITEF equipment provided to the Government of Iraq include body armor, navigation sets, magazine pouches, ambulances, and cargo trucks.
Army commands documented procedures for processing and transferring ITEF equipment to the Government of Iraq. However, the 1st TSC did not have effective controls to maintain complete visibility and accountability of ITEF equipment in Kuwait and Iraq prior to transfer to the Government of Iraq. Equipment visibility provides users with equipment location, movement, and status. Army Regulation 7355 states that all property acquired by the Army will be continuously accounted for from the time of acquisition until the ultimate consumption or disposal of the property. However, the 1st TSC could not provide complete data for the quantity and dollar value of equipment on hand, including rolling stock and ammunition. Rolling stock refers to vehicles. Examples include Mine Clearance Systems, ambulances, and wrecker trucks. The 1st TSC did not have effective controls because it did not use centralized systems to maintain visibility and accountability of ITEF equipment. Instead, the 1st TSC relied on multiple spreadsheets developed by different commands in both Kuwait and Iraq to provide it with visibility and accountability of equipment and did not consistently account for equipment in Iraq.
As a result, the 1st TSC did not have accurate, uptodate records on the quantity and location of ITEF equipment on hand in Kuwait and Iraq. Accurate, uptodate records of equipment on hand in Kuwait and Iraq are critical for filling equipment requests. The process to contact multiple commands and reference multiple spreadsheets to determine equipment quantities and location could delay the fulfillment of a request or delay the development of future requests. In addition, not having accurate records of equipment on hand could result in duplicate equipment requests. Further, the use of manually populated spreadsheets increased the risk for humanerror when inputting and updating equipment data.
We recommend that the Commander, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, use automated systems to account for and provide complete visibility of Iraq Train and Equip Fund equipment.
Management Actions Taken
During the audit we informed the Deputy Commanders, 1st TSC and Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command–Operation Inherent Resolve; the Commander, 336th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion; and officials from the Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve of the lack of centralized visibility and accountability systems for ITEF equipment.
The Deputy Commander, 1st TSC, agreed with our findings and immediately initiated steps to implement corrective actions. As a shortterm solution, 1st TSC developed a centralized equipment visibility tracker. The tracker, located on a shared drive, allowed the 1st TSC and commands associated with the ITEF program to have a centralized system to track ITEF equipment on hand at multiple locations and make changes to the tracker when ITEF equipment was processed through their locations. As a long‑term solution, 1st TSC is working towards using Army visibility and accountability systems to further increase its visibility and accountability of ITEF equipment. The Deputy Commander, 1st TSC, anticipates full use of the systems in late 2016. The management actions taken addressed the concerns we identified; therefore, we are not making any additional recommendations