In a follow-up to Friday’s report on two military installations destroying expended ammunition brass for scrap metal sales rather than making it available to the commercial reload market, the Fort McCoy public affairs office today sent Gun Rights Examiner a copy of a June 23, 2011 memorandum from Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter on “Department of Defense (DoD) Implementing Guidance for the Commercial Sale of Expended Small Arms Cartridge Cases (ESACC).”
“The attached guidance reconciles [the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act] with other applicable provisions, including … the Department of Defense Appropriations Act … which restricted funds from being used to demilitarize or dispose of certain types of carbines, rifles, pistols, or small arms ammunition and ammunition components that are not otherwise prohibited from commercial sale under Federal law or certified by the Secretary of the Army … as unserviceable or unsafe for future use,” the memorandum explains.
“The DoD, over the past several years, made available for commercial sale to qualified buyers in the continental United States an estimated six to eight million pounds of intact (non-demilitarized) ESACC,” the memorandum continues, citing periodic quantity reviews “based on the average percentages … available for sale, Qualified Recycling Program Revenues, and sales customer input.
The memorandum includes an “Implementing Guidance” attachment stating “DoD will dispose of ESACC as quickly and effectively as practical, and in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and DoD guidance.”
Of relevance, it also states “The DoD will not expend resources to determine whether ESACC are serviceable for non-military purposes.
“The DoD will continue to make available a reasonable portion of the ESACC supply intact for such sale,” the guidelines continue, albeit not defining how “reasonable” is determined, “with the goal of optimizing the receipt and return of sales proceeds.”
The guidelines also specify the guidelines apply to the continental United States, “to avoid significant expenditures in transporting ESACC.”
In answer to a question raised about brass destruction by the Oregon National Guard raised in last week’s Gun Rights Examiner report, the guidelines “will not impair the operation of QRP at military installations within CONUS that rely on direct sales of ESACC to support their recycling program or Morale, Welfare and recreation program. Such installations and activities may continue to crush, shred, deform or otherwise demilitarize ESACC prior to direct sale.”
These specifics directly address original questions posed by Gun Rights Examiner that were sidestepped when for-the-record comments were requested, and would indicate the direction the installations are following comes straight from the Pentagon. Whether that squares with the spirit and intent of public law and appropriations requirements, and what higher-level directives or understandings, if any (as well as past precedents), shaped the 2011 guidance memorandum under which the bases are operating, are new questions to be explored.