For more than six months, a growing number of news media outlets, as well as the constituents of numerous Members of Congress, have been asking questions about the ammunition purchase practices of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In February 2013, Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) joined 16 other Members of Congress in signing a letter, addressed to Secretary Janet Napolitano, that seeks more information about this matter.
That oversight letter was transmitted to the Homeland Security Department nearly four weeks ago. As of the close of business on Tuesday April 9th, Congressman Huelskamp has not yet received a written response from Secretary Napolitano or an Assistant Secretary on her behalf. The letter asked the following questions:
1. For what purpose is the Department of Homeland Security purchasing nearly two billion of rounds of ammunition?
2. How many rounds of ammunition does Homeland Security currently have in its stockpile?
3. Is the current level of ammunition purchases by the Department in line with previous levels of ammunition purchases made by the Department?
4. In response to inquiries into these purchases, why has the Department redacted, blacked out, or classified certain sections of its solicitations that had been previously available to the public?
5. Are these purchases being conducted in a manner that strategically denies the American people access to ammunition?
6. How much has Homeland Security spent purchasing ammunition within the last year when it was clear the Department was likely to face a budget cut? Please include planned expenditures for current bid solicitations in this figure.
Congressman Huelskamp issued the following statement:
“I want to give Secretary Napolitano every benefit of the doubt, but this inordinate delay is inexcusable. I hope this foot-dragging isn’t the latest example of the executive branch trying to evade transparency and flout congressional oversight. I reiterate my request that the Secretary answer these straightforward questions, answer them truthfully and completely, and do so in a timely fashion.”