Officials from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) told Congress that they have taken several steps to shore up the integrity of a program that distributes surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies after the Government Accountability Office demonstrated that it was highly susceptible to fraud.
But the assurances were insufficient for at least two senior members of Congress, who say the Defense Department needs to suspend its transfers of “controlled” military equipment until DLA has completely solved the internal control problems GAO identified in a recently-disclosed sting operation.
At issue is one of the two surplus property programs operated by DLA’s Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO). Although the division that deals with state and local law enforcement agencies appears to have more robust safeguards to keep equipment from falling into the wrong hands, GAO showed that it was able to pose as a federal agency that does not exist to get hold of $1.2 million in military gear that’s not available to the general public.
In an audit released last week, the office said its investigators, posing as employees of the fake federal agency, sought and gained approval to participate in the program by corresponding with DLA solely via email. Later, the undercover GAO employees were able to pick up more than 100 pieces of controlled property from DLA warehouses — and in two of the three cases, did so without being asked to show any form of identification.