New GAO Report Finds DHS Ammunition Purchases Declined Since 2009

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today highlighted a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that examines ammunition procurement practices at the Department of Homeland Security.  The report found that since 2009, ammunition purchases at the department have declined.  DHS currently has more than 70,000 firearm-carrying personnel.

“Today’s GAO report provides much-needed oversight into DHS’s ammunition procurement practices,” Dr. Coburn said. “Specifically, the GAO looked at DHS’s history of ammunition purchases and found that purchases have declined considerably since 2009.  The GAO also highlighted a number of positive safeguards DHS uses in its procurement practices such as strategic sourcing in order to secure the lowest prices for ammo. I am pleased DHS has worked in good faith, and in a transparent manner, with both myself and the GAO.  I will continue to conduct rigorous oversight of DHS programs and will specifically work with Congress and the GAO to examine how duplicative federal police forces cause excess and waste across the federal government.”

Dr. Coburn’s previous oversight work on DHS ammunition purchases can be found here.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and House Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency Chairman Jeff Duncan were lead requestors on the report.

Findings include:

  • Overall, the GAO found that DHS ammunition purchases have declined since 2009 as the chart illustrates below:  


Number of rounds (in millions)

DHS total cost (in millions)

FY 2008



FY 2009



FY 2010



FY 2011



FY 2012



FY 2013



FY 2014 (planned)















  • From fiscal years 2008 through 2013, DHS purchased an average of 109 million rounds of ammunition for training, qualification, and operational needs.  This 6 year period equates to an average of 1,200 rounds of ammunition purchased per firearm-carrying officer per year. 
  • According to DHS contract data, as of October 2013, 29 ammunition contracts existed which have a remaining balance of around 704 million rounds.  These contracts have a contract dollar ceiling of around $285 million. 
  • In August 2012, DHS required components to use strategic sourcing contract vehicles for procurements, which include ammunition.  DHS officials believe that the strategic sourcing process for ammunition has saved an estimated $2 million since 2008.