Search Penny Hill Press

Friday, January 21, 2011

Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal: Background Information

Valerie Bailey Grasso
Specialist in Defense Acquisition

The Department of Defense (DOD) through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) component called DLA Disposition Services [formerly the Defense Utilization and Marketing Service (DRMS)] has a policy for disposing of government equipment and supplies considered surplus or deemed unnecessary, or excess, to the agency’s currently designated mission. DLA Disposition Services is responsible for property reuse (including resale), precious metal recovery, recycling, hazardous property disposal, and the demilitarization of military equipment. The effort to dispose of surplus military equipment dates back to the end of World War II when the Federal government sought to reduce a massive inventory of surplus military equipment by making such equipment available to civilians. (Note: disposal of surplus real property, including land, buildings, commercial facilities, and equipment situated thereon, is assigned to the General Services Administration’s Office of Property Disposal.)

On September 22, 2010, DLA published a pre-solicitation notice, to be reissued as a Request for Proposal (RFP) after October 1, 2010, for the contract to manage the receipt, storage, marketing, and disposition of all excess property, including the reutilization, transfer, and donation of useable surplus property generated by DOD installations throughout the United States. The RFP will be posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website,

During March 2009, several press reports indicated that DLA Disposition Services had tightened its demilitarization policy on the category of items in which small arms cartridge cases were included. Such items are munitions list items and buyers who purchase them from the Federal government must be approved to do so under Trade Security Controls. DLA later issued a formal decision which reversed the policy, as described in the following excerpt from the DLA Press Release. For further information, contact Tonya Johnson, DLA, at (703)767-6310, or

The primary focus of the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service is to protect national security by ensuring property is properly identified for reutilization and disposition and not released for public sale when to do so would jeopardize national security. 

During the past two years, the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, located in Battle Creek, Mich., revised its processes to further ensure only appropriate items were made available for public sale. To strengthen current controls and to mitigate future security risk, DOD issued a policy that prohibits the sale of military unique items controlled by the Department of State through its Munitions List. 

Small arms cartridge cases are identified as a sensitive Munitions List item and were held pending review of the policy relating to the category of items in which cartridge cases were included. Upon review, the Defense Logistics Agency has determined the cartridge cases could be appropriately placed in a category of government property allowing for their release for sale. 

Date of Report: January 13, 2011
Number of Pages: 6
Order Number: RS20549
Price: $19.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.