WASHINGTON—While social media is abuzz this week about “storming” Area 51, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, a combat veteran and a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, is calling for the Department of Defense (DoD) to address massive inefficiencies in its storage and inventory that is costing taxpayers in Iowa and across the country hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ernst is introducing legislation to allow DoD to consolidate unneeded and underutilized warehouses and storage centers to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their supply chain.
“When it comes to our military, it’s critical we make sure every single dollar we spend is used in the most efficient way possible,” Ernst said. “There’s no excuse for hundreds of millions of dollars to go to waste for keeping underused and unneeded warehouses open. The Pentagon has asked Congress for the authority to rid themselves of some of these storage facilities, but they lack the authority to do it. My commonsense legislation gives the DoD the authority to consolidate these massively inefficient warehouses and will save taxpayers in Iowa and across the country millions.”
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), the agency that manages DoD’s global supply chain, is currentlyincurring millions of dollars in costs to store more than 768,000 items that are likely to never be used, some of which are particularly wasteful and costly. In a report, the nonpartisan watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates DoD could save more than $500 million by simply minimizing unnecessary overlap and duplication and more efficiently using its distribution centers.
The Defense Storage and Supply Efficiency Improvement Act would give the DoD the authority to consolidate their unneeded and underutilized warehouses and storage centers. The bill also requires DoD to submit a consolidation plan to Congress for review. That plan would include the following items:
- An estimate of the resulting cost savings;
- An itemized description of how those savings are expected to be spent;
- A list of the specific facilities that will be subject to closure or disposal;
- An explanation of how closure or disposal of each facility will increase efficiency or enhance the functioning of the supply chain; and
- A certification that the overall effectiveness of the supply chain of DOD will not be compromised or hindered by such consolidation.