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Navy needs to improve ordnance safeguards, report says

Aviation ordnancemen move ordnance aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz during operations at sea on Jan. 9, 2010.

The Navy needs to tighten safeguards in tracking shore-based ordnance, a Pentagon watchdog report released Thursday says.

The Defense Department Inspector General determined that while the Navy system for tracking more than 300 million pieces of ordnance — ranging from Tomahawk missiles to gun ammunition — was ready for audit, the lack of internal controls in several areas was a concern.

In one case, inspectors found an employee with access to both physical ordnance and the inventory list that accounts for it, duties that should be separated. In another, they found that a husband and wife who worked, respectively, in the storage area and inventory control for the same ordnance.

Both situations created opportunities for someone to take ordnance and then change the master list to conceal it, the report says.

“The Navy should ensure that such duties are not only segregated by function, but also reviewed to avoid potential conflict of interest situations,” the Inspector General says.

Navy personnel later reassigned the husband and wife so they didn’t have direct communication over the same ordnance.

Inspectors worked off the Department of the Navy’s Ordnance Information System to randomly check for the existence of about 25 million pieces, the completeness of just under 2 million pieces and the “rights and obligations” of about 26 million pieces. Ordnance outside the United States and on ships and submarines weren’t included in the checks.

The military is working to be fully auditable by 2017, as required by Congress in its fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill.

beardsley.steven@stripes.com
Twitter: @sjbeardsley

 

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