The Trump administration has taken a hard stance on securing our borders. This commitment is to make the United States safer for all citizens. His desire to fix the problems involving illegals coming into the U.S. was a well-known part of his campaign.
It appears the Obama administration used a passive aggressive and dangerous ploy to keep valuable federal employees from being able to do their jobs. Both DHS and ICE face alarming ammunition shortages, service weapons that may no longer be safe to use, and a lack of ongoing job support. Their own government is working directly against employees and the ability to work safely. These failures are tied to a long string of bad contracts and failed efforts to maintain the safety of federal employees.
Even before Trump changed the way we look at both the security of our border and illegals within the country, DHS and ICE were in trouble because of the long term failures of key contracts. In late January, ICE estimated the agency as a whole would run out of ammunition by July 2017. This leaves front line agents exposed and in danger.
This outright failure of the Obama administration to support federal employees’ safety brings to light a bigger issue. According to research done by journalist Steve Peacock, the “…apparent poor planning, or another agenda, played in the issue came to light when ICE said it would have run out of 9mm ammo by June 2017 in the absence of a modified contract with its supplier, Vista Outdoor Inc. So, the agency last month approved a $363,307 ceiling increase to contract No. HSCEMS-11-D-00002.”
Providing supplies to federal employees is not something new. It is a routine part of each administration to budget for department needs. It is also a part of each administration to do what is in the best interest of the valuable men and women who work daily to support the government. Even if the current roles of DHS and ICE have changed, both agencies existed under Obama.
Unfortunately, the lack of ammunition is not the only issue that is putting the safety of DHS and ICE employees at risk. It is estimated that 52,000 service weapons in use today are reaching the end of their life-cycle. Each service weapon has an established timeline where it can be used safely. After that point, the guns are no longer considered safe for official use.
The life-cycle of a service weapon is based on mechanical use and the best performance of the weapon. For employees of both DHS and ICE, their weapon working properly can mean the difference between life and death. It is not unreasonable to expect an employer like the United States government be able to not only predict the need to replace these firearms but also plan accordingly.
Replacing equipment is a predictable and standard part of operations. DHS and ICE are not the only departments that carry service weapons that need to be routinely replaced. They seem to be the only ones having this level of crisis currently though.
It is a sad fact that an ammunition shortage is nothing new. Under Obama, DHS was forced to scramble in 2012, 2014 and now 2017 to secure the needed supplies. The level of need has been consistent, the estimated supply needs have remained pretty constant.
As DHS and it’s supporting departments face the need to ration ammunition, it is not true that this sudden effort is tied to changes made by the Trump administration. The unbalanced levels between the needs of DHS and the supplies available by their contracts has been an on-going issue. To put it simply, DHS and ICE did not have the support of the Obama administration.
Without a basic tool to do their job, both DHS and ICE agents put their lives on the line. Whether we look at the efforts of these hard working Americans under Obama or Trump, the job has always been dangerous. The on-going shortage of ammunition increases the risk.
Ignoring the life-cycle of their service weapons also puts safety at risk in the most basic of ways. While a gun bought by a citizen may have a much longer life-cycle, these weapons are used more frequently. Workers who carry service weapons on the job must continuously practice and maintain their skills.
The current crisis to supply front-line agents the ammunition they need is an artifact left over from the Obama administration. Having 52,000 service weapons in the field that are aging out of the system is another reminder of the prior administration’s lack of concern for federal employees. Both of these issues undervalue the safety and security of the agents on the ground.
It is clear that President Trump understands the need for DHS and values the efforts of the agents. It is inexcusable for these hard-working agents to be left without the basic supplies they need. Having the ability to replace an aging service weapon is not a luxury, it is a vital part of safety.