I keep waiting for someone who knows what they are doing to investigate, look at the numbers and do some simple math. Since no one has, here is what I have been able to come up with based on “what has been reported thus far”. Most government contracting includes statements like, up to, which means that they can request more of an item over the period of the contract, but not the full amount if they don’t need that many. Most of the purchases are for a five year period, which means that they are not getting it all right away.
Since 2004, the number of Federal Agents has increased by about 30-40% to somewhere around 120,000 agents employed under about 70 Federal Departments. It is estimated that about 90,000 of these are under DHS. These are Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and include NOAA, SS, FWP, ICE, FPS, ATF, and just about all the alphabet soup entities of the federal government whose primary purpose is enforcement. It is a lot. However, 1.6 Billion rounds divided by 120,000 agents it is still 13,333 rounds per LEO.
Advertisement - story continues below
Each LEO has to “qualify” at the range with any weapon that they carry on duty, twice a year. The standard qualification includes various shooting positions, magazine changes, and reloads, and hitting targets at various distances. Standard run of the mill street cops carry a side arm, rifle, and shotgun.
One of the departments that were folded into DHS is the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. It was originally under the Treasury Department. It operates four training centers in the United States and at least two outside. A statement by FLETC is that they use around 15 million rounds a year. This ammo is for all Federal Agents under DHS and the LEOs that work for say, the IRS or Social Security. FLETC also provides training for state and local LEOs that are outside of the aforementioned. It is unclear whether the 15 million rounds per year statement includes all of the training centers, or just the main one, in Georgia, a 1600 acre complex with multiple ranges and even a small town to simulate urban warfare, I mean urban LEO scenarios.
So if each of the FLETC locations uses 15 million rounds a year, which is a stretch, and there are at least six that we know of, a conservative estimate for all training using all three weapons, could be as high as 450 million rounds. That leaves approximately 1.2 billion rounds to be distributed to 120,000 LEOs in the field of operation. Or around 10,000 rounds per LEO.
So how much ammo is distributed to each LEO to carry in the field and how much is kept in reserve at each local office? Well we all know that every LEO in the field already has ammo, and each field office already has a stockpile, what are the additional 10,000 rounds per LEO for? That is an additional 2,000 rounds per year over the five year period.
Advertisement - story continues below
It is still a staggering amount. A typical run of the mill police officer carries a loaded weapon and two magazines on their person, which if it is a high capacity firearm; that is around 45 rounds for the side arm. Probably another 200 rounds exist in the vehicle as immediate resupply. The rifle is usually a short magazine of 20 rounds and there are at least two loaded mags in the vehicle and probably another couple hundred rounds of immediate resupply. The shotgun is going to hold around eight rounds and another six or so with the weapon and another couple of boxes of various type of shotgun ammo, buck shot, slugs, and less lethal rounds in the car, let’s call that a conservative 80 rounds. So the total per officer is going to be around 600 rounds per officer and officer vehicle. That equals a total resupply rate of 3.3 times per year per officer which is a LOT of shooting, given that most LEOs never fire there weapon during their entire career.
Bottom line, the numbers don’t add up anyway you look at them. They simply cannot use that much ammo, nor do they need that much ammo for their normal enforcement activity.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.