* ‘ WASHINGTON. B-173708 -8 Dear Mr. Udall: We have investigated the allegation which you forwarded 7 to us on July 20, 1971, that 5.56 mm blank ammunition used in M-16 rifles had been wasted during training-exercises con- ! ducted by the Army's 529th Military Intelligence Company at ^ -."I I /- Fort Hood, Texas. We reviewed pertinent regulations, records, and proce- dures and interviewed personnel of the 529th Military Intel- ligence Company and Headquarters, III Corps and Fort Hood. As you requested, we did not disclose the identity of the in- formant. The incident described in the informant's letter did oc- cur. The commanding officer of the company admitted that some 5.56 mm blank ammunition had been fired needlessly, but he contended that only 7,500 to 10,000 rounds, valued between $450 and $600, were involved rather than the 22,000 rounds reported. We could not verify the amounts because of.the lack of documentary evidence. At the time the incident occurred, the 529th Military Intelligence Company had the responsibility of providing prisoner-interrogator training. Included in this training was a l-week field exercise designed to provide the troops with some degree of realism as to what to expect when they were assigned to field interrogation duty in Vietnam. Dur- ing the field exercises aggressors attacked the compounds in an attempt to liberate the prisoners. Blank ammunition was used in the attacks and defense of the compounds. Six classes of active and Reserve Army personnel r;--- -' have completed the interrogator-training program In the last year, and no future classes are planned. The informant attended the fifth class. Several factors contributed to the incident reported. The company ordered more ammunition than it should have, the class was much smaller than had been planned, and a 50 TH ANNIVERSARY 1921- 1971 m . -c l 7. - - l . B-173708 * management objective prescribed by higher headquarters has been misinterpreted. We found no records supporting the quantities of 5.56 mm blank ammunition requested, nor could personnel presently as- signed to the company explain how the quantities had been de- termined. Using the guidance contained in Army Regulations, we estimated that the company should have ordered about 13,000 blank ammunition rounds for the fifth class rather than the 30,780 rounds it forecast and ultimately received. Furthermore, only 25 of the 45 students originally expected for the fifth class actually reported. This would have fur- ther reduced the requirement from 13,000 to 9,000 rounds. We should point out that no 5.56 mm blank ammunition was requested for the sixth class.-After this class completed its field exercise, nearly 21,000 rounds were returned to stores. Although some ammunition was fired needlessly, con- siderable quantities apparently had been retained from ear- lier classes for subsequent use. One of the operating objectives of the 5th.U.S. ArmyPs management improvement program is that unit commanders use at least 90 percent of the ammunition requirements which they forecast. They are required to explain the reasons for any shortfalls. We received the impression during our review that unit commanders believed that their efficiency ratings would be downgraded if they failed to achieve the go-percent goal. Although the 5th Army's objective probably was to fos- ter more accurate requirements forecasts, a different result was achieved. The ammunition was fired needlessly rather than returned to stores. We discussed this problem with the Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, and with members of his staff. He said that the failure of a unit to achieve the go-percent goal was not intended to affect the commanders' efficiency ratings. Since commanders seemed to believe that it would, however, he said that he would cancel the requirement that explanations be given when the go-percent goal was not 2 B-173708 achieved, to preclude the waste of ammunition. We were ad- vised that Fort Hood would simplify procedures for returning ammunition to stores and would do what was necessary to pre- clude this type of incident from recurring. We shall be pleased to discuss this matter with you fur- ther if you so desire. Sincerely yours, DeputYComptroller General of the United States The Honorable Morris K. Udall House of Representatives 3 B-173873 /4 Dear Senator Proxmire: 7 On August 6, 1971, you sent us a letter from Mr. William R. Meyer which questioned Hughes Tool Company and Bell Helicopter Company oontractual restric- tions against Government sale or donation of used helicopters to State or local i governments. You requested a preliminary examina&n of Department of Defense 'disposal . _.^_ .-.._ procedures. We examined 17 contracts awarded between 1950 and 1969 to Bell Helicopter j> 'Lb" Company and Hughes To=-Company for OH-13 and TH-55 helicopters and found no II ? : ^ contractual restrictions on Government resale. On July 31, 1971, about 4,700 inactive aircraft were stored at the Military -_'. Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, ' 1' Arizona. These aircraft included about 800 helicopters, of which 270 were TH-55's. The Department of Defense usually reclaims needed parts from excess air- craft before disposing of them. Aircraft then are available for transfer to other Government agencies and for donation to State or local governments or to other authorized donees. We discussed the above information with your office and were told that no further work was necessary. As requested, we are returning Mr. Meyer's letter. Comptroller General of the United States Enclosure The Honorable William Proxmire h United States Senate i 50TH ANNIVERSARY 1921- 1971
Alleged Waste of 5.56 mm Blank Ammunition Used in M-16 Rifles During Training Exercises at Fort Hood, Texas
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-10-21.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)