The Flow Of Military Equipment To Police Has Accelerated Under Biden

Above photo: A Miami Police officer watches protestors from a armored vehicle during a rally. Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images.

The Pentagon’s 1033 program is the primary mechanism by which police acquire military hardware. Most of the items transferred are innocuous, but that’s only in terms of quantity; in terms of value, combat gear dominates the ledger. Not surprisingly the latter fact typically escapes police/DOD discourse.

Matériel is what’s counted here. The values below reflect that of military hardware (“controlled” equipment) transferred through the 1033 program and not the office supplies or generators or t-shirts or whatever (“uncontrolled” equipment).

  • The most common items sent to police this quarter were firearm magazines: 940 total; 600 for 9mm pistols; 331 for 5.56mm rifles (M4 or M-16); 9 for 7.62mm rifles (M-14s, presumably).
  • Military vehicles (246) comprised most of the total acquisition value ($21,902,009 out of $33,506,765).

Policy action

Congress needs to pressure Biden to issue an executive order to 1) prevent future transfers; and 2) recall military equipment from police custody. Unlike the “uncontrolled” equipment referenced above, “controlled” equipment (the dangerous stuff) is on a conditional loan. Biden can simply order DOD to take it back from the police. See SPRI’s latest policy brief for more: