Military Surplus

DOD inventory, overstocked


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recognized since 1990 that the Defense Department suffers from "ineffective and inefficient inventory management practices and procedures [and] weaknesses in accurately forecasting the demand for spare parts." Such issues have "contributed to the accumulation of billions of dollars in spare parts that are excess to current needs."

An April 2015 follow-up GAO study on military inventory practices found that the Army, Air Force, and Navy still had expensive inventory management issues. It found, for example, that the Army violated its own guidance and consequently underreported its "on-hand excess inventory." Similarly, the Navy's and Air Force's inventory reports included "contractor-managed inventory," making it seem like the services "had made greater progress in reducing their on-hand excess inventory than they actually had."

The Air Force alone "identified about $2.6 billion in inventory that was retained without proper economic justification and plans to continue to retain it until late 2016." The Defense Department is trying to reduce already-purchased inventory that may now be unnecessary to 6 percent of total inventory value. Neither the Army nor the Navy has met that goal.