The Army and Marine Corps might not be equipped to respond quickly to crises in Europe or Africa because the services are improperly storing vehicles, weapons and other gear at overseas prepositioning sites, the Pentagon’s watchdog agency has warned.
The Defense Department does not have proof that soldiers and Marines properly stored and maintained at least $203.7 million worth of equipment at sites in Italy, Norway, Germany and other locations in Europe, an inspector general report found.
Investigators reviewed five locations where the services pre-stage gear. The stockpiles of tanks, weapons and other vehicles are meant to be used in the event of an emergency, deter adversaries and reassure allies.
But what the inspectors found raised questions about the usefulness of the equipment stored in those locations.
“We believe our findings raise potential concerns regarding the maintenance of prepositioned stock at other U.S. European Command locations that follow the Army Technical Manual 38‑470 and Marine Corps Technical Manual 4790-14/1G,” the report states.
Those manuals set the conditions for which humidity levels, maintenance schedules and other steps to protect the equipment are followed. Inspectors found that some vehicles and weapons in the locations went untested or maintained and humidity levels kept at rates that could damage some of the equipment.