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Military Brass Destruction Update

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by wireguy, Apr 5, 2010.

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  1. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998

    Brass Issue Not Resolved
    When I last reported on the ongoing question of the release of once-fired military brass to the civilian marketplace, it seemed the issue might finally be resolving itself. Any passing on of that impression seems to have been either premature or unintentionally erroneous.

    Seems the efforts of base commanders to skate around a Congressional order not to try and sell the brass outside the prescribed process- sales via auction via Government Liquidations, an outside auction house for government properties- has been an ongoing process.

    As a result, Montana's United States Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester have sent a very strongly-worded letter to the Department of Defense insisting on answers to some very pointed questions on the matter of military brass destruction.

    The issue came to light after sales solicitations from ATK (NYSE: ATK) were disclosed by Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) head Gary Marbut. In the ATK sales pieces, base commanders were told how they could sell their once-fired brass to ATK for demilling rather than sending it through the prescribed governmental process. That sales process would result in the funds going directly into each base's funds instead of the treasury.

    Despite the fact that most military commanders would probably be better stewards of those funds than Washington, the process is basically a no-no. When given a clear directive to follow, it's not only unusual for military officials to fail to comply, it's the equivalent of issuing a throw-down at Washington.

    The most unsettling part of the report, however, was a series of quotes taken from the ATK program literature being directed to the commanders.

    In those materials, several reasons for participating in a direct sale rather than a government liquidation were quoted. None portrayed potential civilian purchasers, reloaders or shooters in a very positive light.

    Those included:
    "We cannot allow this reloaded ammunition to fall into the hands of militias."

    "Keeps Military Grade Brass from being re-loaded by unauthorized users."

    "To PREVENT anyone from using your scrap ammunition components for non-military purposes." (Emphasis in the original)

    "Assurability for the [military] installation, that no one can use this cartridge against law enforcement or our military personnel, by reloading the case."

    Get the idea?

    When I contacted ATK President and CEO Mark DeYoung, I received an official response that described the presentations as "dated", promising they would be "immediately withdrawn."

    "ATK," it concluded, "fully supports the provision passed by Congress last year to ensure that demilitarized spent brass casings remain available for civilian use."

    Seems, however, that not everyone might have gotten the word. We received word from reliable sources telling us that the same ATK person who had issued the now-withdrawn earlier documents had notified some of the bases participating in the demilled brass project "we are doing the same thing still, same goal, just different words..."

    Even if the whole affair was a misunderstanding, there's a clear directive issued from Congress to the military that no Congress-appropriated funds may be used to destroy brass. Here's the excerpt from the 2009 Department of Defense appropriation by Congress:

    "None of the funds available to the Department of Defense may be used to demilitarize or dispose of M-1 Carbines, M-1 Garand rifles, M-14 rifles, .22 caliber rifles, .30 caliber rifles, or M-1911 pistols, or to demilitarize or destroy small arms ammunition or ammunition components that are not otherwise prohibited from commercial sale under Federal law, unless the small arms ammunition or ammunition components are certified by the Secretary of the Army or designee as unserviceable or unsafe for further use."

    Even if it's a case of everyone not being informed, it's not sitting well with the same Montana senators who went to bat for civilians when the whole ammo demilling issue first surfaced.

    The pair has sent a letter to Defense Logistics Agency head Vice Admiral Alan K. Thompson demanding answers, and setting an April 15 deadline for receipt of those answers.

    After reminding Vice Admiral Thompson the domestic market for ammunition was "highly sensitive to shortages of spent cartridge cases" they expressed their concern that "certain installation contracts with private entities for the sale of once-fired small arms cartridge cases under the QRP (Qualified Recycling Program) might not be in compliance with this law."

    The pair then gave Thompson until April 15 to provide:

    -the number and location of military installations that have contracted with private sources for the sale of their once-fired small arms cartridge cases under the QRP.,

    -An assessment of whether these contracts are in compliance with Section 8019 or PL 1111-1111

    -An assessment of whether once-fired small arms cartridge cases sold to private entities under the QRP earn as much revenue as otherwise would be earned if the brass were put up for public bid through government liquidations.

    -The steps our agency is taking to ensure that all interested buyers have the opportunity to purchased once-fired small arms cartridge cases and an assessment of whether your agency is taking every step to assure the maximum availablility of once-fired small arms cartridge cases to those who repurchase them for resale and reuse via the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) system."

    In other words, the matter of civilian access to once-fired military brass remains an open issue - at least until April 15. At that point, the situation may either stabilize or continue to spiral.

    We'll keep you posted.

    --Jim Shepherd
  2. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
    As we suspected... their letter assuring people they weren't destroying "demilled brass" was bullcrap.
  3. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Green Bay Wisconsin
    ATK needs to be replaced as the supplier if they insist on their perception of the general public as users of the fired brass.

    If my Congressman wasn't such a liberal jerk he would get a letter of complaint.

    Disdain for the people who pay the bills just shouldn't be accepted.

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