The US Army’s 401st Army Field Support Battalion and its contractor, Amentum Services, have been criticized by the Defense Department’s inspector general for providing faulty equipment to Ukraine, including malfunctioning howitzers and rotted tires on Humvees. This is not the first instance of poor maintenance from this unit and contractor, raising concerns about the reliability and safety of prepositioned stock intended for rapid deployment to conflict zones.
- The Defense Department’s inspector general discovered that six M777 howitzers meant for deployment to Ukraine were in poor condition due to lack of maintenance, with problems such as non-locking breechblocks and recycled hydraulic fluid, which could lead to fatal misfires.
- The contractor, Amentum Services, failed to perform scheduled quarterly and annual services for the howitzers for 19 months, resulting in their compromised state.
- 26 out of 29 M1167 Humvees, originally declared fit for use, were found to be non-functional when ordered for deployment. Issues ranged from dead batteries and fluid leaks to faulty gauges and dry rotted tires, one of which shredded during delivery.
- The Army Materiel Command, and the 401st disputed some of the inspector general’s findings, resulting in an ongoing conflict over the maintenance standards and service manuals used in assessing the equipment.
- Despite these disputes, increased inspections by the 401st staff have reportedly prevented further shipment of faulty equipment. However, these inspections haven’t been formalized into policy, leaving potential room for future lapses.
- Amentum Services, the contractor responsible for maintaining these supplies, has been previously cited alongside the 401st for equipment maintenance failures, as per an inspector general report from 2018. Despite this history, Amentum continues to hold the contract, charging nearly $948 million for its services since 2016.