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Thinking through how we to pool knowledge on 1033 data? Is it possible to construct a living history or nerd box or cookbook for journalists going through the 1033 data? Especially the new stuff?

Maintained version moved here

Defense Logistics Agency's 1033 program data

Commonly known as the 1033 program, the Department of Defense surplus disposal program administered through the Defense Logistics Agency has its roots in the 1990 National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the federal budget for the Department of Defense every two years.

In the 1996 version of that budget, Congress created Section 1033 that allowed "all law enforcement agencies to acquire property for bona fide law enforcement purposes that assist in their arrest and apprehension mission."

The 24-year-old program received increased scrutiny in 2014 after several media reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post, a report by the American Civil Liberties Union and protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that included confrontations between protestors and police armed with automatic weapons and military vehicles.

On or about Nov. 21, 2014, the Defense Logistics Agency released data that provides a deeper look into which law enforcement agencies have received surplus military items distributed through the 1033 program. Previous releases only detailed to the county level what are now being called controlled items.

In This Guide

FAQ: What can I find in the data

I'd like to know if the number of items acquired by local law enforcement agencies through the 1033 program have increased over time?

A: The data released by the Defense Logistics Agency on Nov. 21 is current as of Nov. 13, 2014, but is not a historical record. With some caveats, it could be thought of as a snapshot of controlled items still in the possession of law enforcement agencies over the life of the program.

For example, the data doesn't allow us to say whether the amount equipment acquired by an agency has increased over time. We can only say when the equipment that is currently at an agency arrived there.

If a law enforcement agency returns, transfers or discards an item it simply no longer appears in data for that agency.

Tactical, controlled, non-controlled: What do those terms mean?

A: This is an area where things have become fuzzy, so we'll outline what we know and refine from there.

During the reporting process, in general we have found the Pentagon has been fluid with the tactical label. They have in the past released lists of "tactical" equipment detailed to the county level versus general equipment detailed to the local agency level.

With the most recent release, the term controlled versus non-controlled has come up during interviews.

  • Tactical

    • During an Aug. 20 conversation in response to a KPCC Freedom of Information Act request, Judith Mansfield from the Defense Logistics Agency's Disposition Services detailed what she called a standard data pull for California. This would consist of two datasets: One catalogs general items of supply. One catalogs tactical equipment, which she also called DLA's active inventory list.

      • Mansfield identified general items of supply as items like office equipment, canteens, boots, etc. This data is detailed to the local law enforcement level.

      • Mansfield identified tactical items as night-vision equipment, body armor, firearms, vehicles, aircraft & watercraft. This is detailed to county level.

      • For general items of supply, DLA stops tracking the items once a local law enforcement agency has had it in inventory for a year, Mansfield said. To paraphrase her: We're not going to track a hole-puncher indefinitely.

    • Through the reporting process on the the Nov. 21 data release KPCC tried to draw a distinction between tactical equipment and controlled equipment.

      • The Defense Logistics Agency's Tonya Johnson said defining tactical equipment can be subjective. "Overall, all tactical equipment cannot be considered controlled equipment since some may consider knee pads or pocket knives mission essential and therefore tactical in nature. But those items would not require special methods of demilitarization or disposal."

      • For example, Johnson said aircraft, "tactical vehicles" and robots are examples of controlled items that the agency considers tactical. But that doesn't mean every "controlled" item is a tank or rifle.

  • Controlled

    • The Defense Logistic Agency and Law enforcement agencies are responsible for tracking controlled property as long as it's in the possession of a law enforcement agency.

    Controlled items in the most-recent DLA data are controlled items that are currently in the possession of a law enforcement agency. For instance, if a controlled item was dispersed in 2002 but returned in 2006 the item would no longer show up in the data.

    • Strictly speaking, "controlled property is defined as personal property under Department of State, Department of Commerce, or Department of Defense control," Johnson said.

    • Equipment such as rifles and combat vehicles are controlled items. But equipment that you wouldn't think of as tactical are also tracked.

    • Of the nine demilitarization codes that are used by the Department of Defense, 8 of them are considered "controlled".

      • Demilitarization codes are the specific categories that indicate how Defense Logistics Agency and the military must properly dispose of items that are no longer useable and needed).

        • Demilitarization code "A" is the only code that is non-controlled property, Johnson said.

          • Furniture, tents, generators, and tools are examples of Demil code "A".
      • Cal OES's definition of "controlled" differs slightly from the DLA's in that it only considers some property with DEMIL Code Q as controlled.

        "DLA retains permanent title to property with Demilitarization (DEMIL) Codes of B, C, D, E, F, G and Q (with an Integrity Code of 3), property with these DEMIL codes is also known as controlled property," according to Cal OES's agreement with the DLA.

    • You can find the definition of controlled property in the California certification package for the 1033 program.

  • Non controlled

    • The Defense Logistics Agency tracks "non-controlled" items for one year, and the item is then removed from active inventory.

      • This classification comes close to the definition of general items of supply.

Are the 1033 items brand new?

A: Not usually. According to a fact sheet provided to Congress on the 1033 program by DLA director Mark Harnitchek — available in this ACLU report — about 36 percent of equipment is new. About 64 percent — nearly two-thirds — is used.

Does the equipment arrive in good condition?

A: The equipment is transferred as-is, and as such, the condition varies.

It's not unusual for departments to take non-functioning equipment to use for parts, or combine two vehicles to make one working machine.

When the Glendora, Calif. Police Department received two Peacekeeper-style armored vehicles in 1997, the department ended up using one in dozens of SWAT operations and the other for parts.

Data smells

  • Regarding the Nov. 21, 2104 Defense Logistics Agency data:

    • The data can't tell us how the equipment is used by a law enforcement agency nor can it tell us an items condition. So a helicopter or a vehicle that ends up with law enforcement agency could be fully functioning or it could be a shell of its useful self. Either way, original value when the item entered the supply chain is what will be displayed.

    • Recipient agencies also lack unique identifiers, and particularly for federal and state agencies, typos and bad naming mean cleanup is required before accurate comparisons can be made.

    • Record retention and tracking of transfers in place now may not have been in place in the earlier years of the program. And the level of record keeping could be entirely dependent on a particular state. For example, the data contain non-controlled equipment transfers that are more than 12 months old. Similarly, there is controlled equipment that dates back to the early 1990s but several sources have said they don't know if it's all still current.

    • Outside of the agency names, the data lack the ability to make a distinction between federal agencies, local police departments or community college police offices. This means when you aggregate the equipment by state you end up a lot of items being acquired by branch offices and field units of federal agencies. For example, while it appears that a lot of equipment goes to Florida — and it does — the biggest recipient in Florida is actually the U.S. State Department.

    • The data lack unique identifiers for transactions and unique identifiers for equipment which makes it impossible to track equipment from one local agency to another if/and when an update comes. There are some elementary methods to track changes to the data in subsequent releases, assuming the record layout remains the same. For example, you could likely see see where an agency has more or fewer night vision goggles than it did in the last release. However, you still won't be able to see how equipment moves from agency to agency: an MRAP moving from one police department to another.

    • Preliminary comparisons show the Defense Logistics Agency already has changed the record layout and the information contained in the data. For instance data acquired by National Public Radio contained equipment categories. Those categories were not present in the data released Nov. 21, 2014. This means there's a good chance that next quarter the spreadsheets could be very different.

  • Regarding the Aug. 28, 2014 National Public Radio data:

    • Any total cost calculations should use quantity times acquisition cost or the pre-computed total cost fields in the provided data. You'll notice an added field for "total_cost," or the amount of the item multiplied by the number of units in the order. This was added after noticing several other published reports' figures were low, suggesting that they missed this detail.

    • Only count items with like units. Each type of equipment has it's own units, which includes simple categories like "each" and more complex like "square feet". In some cases, even equipment of the same type has differing units. Adhesives, for example, are measured in "Tubes", "Bottles", "Pints" and "Quarts". Do not add item quantities with different units. Adding up the quantity field for trucks, which are measured in units of "each", is a legitimate way of determining the total number of trucks distributed through the LESO program. But adding up tubes and pints and quarts of adhesives will yield a nonsense number.

Known data releases

  • Nov. 21, 2104 Defense Logistics Agency data

    • On or about Nov. 21 the Defense Logistics Agency released data current through Nov. 14, 2014 that details controlled and non-controlled dispursements to the local law enforcement level.
  • Sept. 4, MuckRock state-by-state data

    • Details coming soon.
  • Aug. 28, 2014 National Public Radio data

    • Through a Freedom of Information Act request NPR obtained data showing which U.S. counties received equipment and items through the 1033 program. The data ranges between 2006 through April 23, 2014. "Every row represents a single instance of a single type of equipment going to a law enforcement agency. An asterisk(*) denotes that we added this field to the raw data to help with your analyses. The fields, and definitions, are as follows":

      • state
      • county
      • *fips: The Federal Information Processing Standard code for the county
      • nsn: a standardized categorization system for equipment
      • ui: A description of the unit to use for the item (e.g. "each" or "square feet")
      • quantity: Number of units
      • acquistion_cost: The per-unit cost of the item for the military
      • *total_cost: Calculated by multiplying quantity times acquisition cost
      • ship_date: When the item was shipped to a law enforcement agency
      • *federal_supply_category: The two digit code corresponding to the top level categorization of this equipment (e.g. 10).
      • *federal_supply_category_name: The label associated with the category code (e.g. WEAPONS).
      • *federal_supply_class: The four digit code corresponding to the specific categorization of the equipment (e.g. 6245).
      • *federal_supply_class_name: The name of the federal supply class (e.g. "Guns, under 30mm").
  • Aug. 19, 2014 Upshot data

    • "County-level data showing military equipment given to state and local law enforcement agencies through the Defense Department's 1033 program. The data was received from the Defense Department in May 2014 as an Excel file, and includes transfers since 2006."

Glossary of Terms

  • 1033: A Department of Defense surplus disposal program with roots in the 1990 National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the federal budget for the Department of Defense every two years. In the 1996 version of that budget, Congress created Section 1033 that allowed "all law enforcement agencies to acquire property for bona fide law enforcement purposes that assist in their arrest and apprehension mission.". The program is adminstered by the Defense Logistics Agency and its Law Enforcement Support Office. You can read more about the program here.

  • Controlled item: A classification for 1033 equipment. Law enforcement agencies are required to track controlled property for as long as it's in their possession. Strictly speaking, "controlled property is defined as personal property under Department of State, Department of Commerce, or Department of Defense control," according to the Defense Logistics Agency's Tonya Johnson. Law enforcement agencies must track controlled property for as long as it's in their possession.

  • Demilitarization code: Certain demilitarization codes relate to an items status as controlled or non-controlled. More can be found in these three volumes of the Defense Demilitarization Manual.

  • Defense Logistics Agency (DLA): The , the arm of the Department of Defense that manages the 1033 program.

  • Law enforcement agency (LEA): Law enforcement agency, such as a local police department.

  • Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO): Law Enforcement Support Office, located at the Defense Logistics Agency's Disposition Services Headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, which oversees the 1033 program.

  • LRAD: Long Range Acoustic Device, manufactured by the LRAD company, and "developed in response to the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole."

  • MRAP: Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle

  • Non-controlled item: A classification for 1033 equipment. Following transfer to law enforcement agencies, these 1033 items are tracked for one year. After one year, the items fall out of what the Defense Logistic Agency calls its active inventory.

  • National Stock Number (NSN): Each item has a 13-digit code used by the Department of Defense to identify equipment known as a National Stock Number. This number can be used to determine the general category of each item.

  • Value: How much the Pentagon paid for a piece of equipment on its original purchase. However the data doesn't offer insight into when that was. Some items could have been purchased decades ago. This means you will find items that have the same National Stock Number but valued at diffrent amounts. This is driven by the year of purchase.

State Program Coordinators

To participate in the 1033 program each state must sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. The governor of each state must then a coordinator "to ensure the program is used correctly by the participating law enforcement agencies."

A state coordinator is required to maintain property records, investigate allegations of misuse of property and report violations of the Memorandum of Agreement.

As of Dec. 11, 2014 the state coordinators are according to the Defense Logistics Agency.

  • Alabama: Alabama Department Of Economic And Community Affairs Surplus Property Division
  • Alaska: Alaska Department Of Public Safety Division Of Alaska State Troopers
  • Arizona: Counter-drug Procurement Program Payson Police Department
  • Arkansas: Leso 1033 Program
  • California: Governor's Office of Emergency Services
  • Colorado: Colorado State Patrol 1033 Program DOD Excess Property
  • Connecticut: Major General Thaddeus J. Martin
  • Delaware: Delaware Emergency Management Agency
  • Florida: Florida Department Of Management Services
  • Georgia: Georgia Department Of Public Safety
  • Guam: Guam State Police
  • Hawaii: No Point Of Contact
  • Idaho: Idaho State Police
  • Illinois: Illinois Department Of Central Management Services
  • Indiana: State And Federal Surplus Division
  • Iowa: Iowa Department Of Public Safety
  • Kansas: Department Of Administration Kansas Surplus Property
  • Kentucky: Kentucky State Police
  • Louisiana: LA Federal Property Assistance Agency
  • Maine: City Manager's Office
  • Maryland: Maryland State Police Quartermaster Section
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts State Police
  • Michigan: Joint Forces Headquarters
  • Minnesota: Minnesota Homeland Security And Emergency Management
  • Mississippi: Mississippi Office Of Surplus Property Department Of Finance And Administration
  • Missouri: Missouri Department Of Public Safety Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Unit
  • Montana: Montana Highway Patrol
  • Nebraska: Nebraska Department Of Correctional Services Federal Surplus Of Property
  • Nevada: Department Of Public Safety Office Of Criminal Justice Assistance
  • New Hampshire: Commander, Support Services Bureau
  • New Jersey: New Jersey Division Of State Police, Office Of Emergency Management
  • New Mexico:
  • New York: NYS Division Of Criminal Justice Services Office Of Public Safety 1033 Program
  • North Carolina: Auxilliary Services Program Management Law Enforcement Support Services State Coordinator
  • North Dakota: North Dakota Surplus Property
  • Ohio: Ohio State Coordinator Office
  • Oklahoma: Office Of Management And Enterprise Services Property Distribution Division
  • Oregon: Dept Of Admin SVCS Procurement Fleet & Surplus Services Division
  • Pennsylvania: Department Of General Services Federal Surplus & Law Enforcement Property Division
  • Puerto Rico: Executive Director Of The Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency
  • Rhode Island: Office Of The Adjutant General Command Readiness Center
  • South Carolina: General Services Division
  • South Dakota:
  • Tennessee: State Of Tennessee Department Of General Services Warehousing And Distribution
  • Texas: Texas Department Of Public Safety
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: Director, USVI Territorial Management Agency, Vitema Headquarters
  • Utah: Utah State Agency For Surplus Property
  • Vermont: Adjutant General
  • Virginia: Virginia Department Of State Police
  • Washington: Washington State 1033 Leso Program
  • West Virginia: West Virginia State Police
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin Emergency Management
  • Wyoming: 1033 Program State Coordinator

Authors and Contributors



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commented Dec 24, 2014

This is an awesome start. My only suggestion at the moment would be to move my name to the bottom of the contributors section.


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commented Dec 24, 2014

Also, @shawnmusgrave probably has links to historic 1033 data pulls.


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commented Jan 8, 2015

Recommended addition: Links to published stories using this data. Would be nice to have, but certainly not necessary.


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Owner Author

commented Jan 8, 2015

Good point @mjwebster ... Will work on compiling those...

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