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DLA Disposition Services (formerly known as the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service) is part of the United States Defense Logistics Agency. DLA Disposition Services is the largest reverse logistics provider in the world handling over $28 billion in materials in an average year. Headquartered at Battle Creek, Michigan, the organization provides personnel to support the US military in 16 overseas deployments, including Iraq and Afghanistan, 2 US territories (Guam and Puerto Rico) and 41 states.[1]


A congressional report in 1972 recommended centralizing the disposal of United States Department of Defense (DoD) property for better accountability. In response, on September 12, 1972, the Defense Supply Agency (now known as the Defense Logistics Agency) established the Defense Property Disposal Service (renamed the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service in 1985) in Battle Creek, Michigan, as a primary-level field activity. On July 19, 2010, as part of a "We Are DLA" initiative, the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service was renamed the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services.


DLA Disposition Services disposes of the military's excess property. It does this through:[1]

  • reutilization within the DoD
  • transfer to other federal agencies
  • donation to state and local governments

Excess materiel may also be used for:

  • emergency management in the US
  • humanitarian aid worldwide
  • foreign military sales programs

Excess property that is not disposed of in these ways may be subsequently offered for sale to the public.

DLA Disposition Services is also responsible for the management and disposal of hazardous property for DoD activities, maximizing the use of each item and minimizing environmental risks and costs, and retains a legal responsibility for DoD waste even after it has been passed on to private contractors.[1][2]

Iraq waste controversy

DLA Disposition Services has a legal responsibility for US military waste even after it has been passed on to private contractors.[3] In 2010 an investigation by The Times newspaper in five Iraqi provinces discovered that hazardous waste from US bases was being dumped locally by subcontracted waste firms rather than transported back to the US by ship via the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr or recycled in purpose built facilities in northern and western Iraq, as required by DoD rules.[2] Major General Kendall P. Cox Sr., responsible for engineering and infrastructure in Iraq, said: "As you know we have been here for over seven years. In that period we have accumulated several million pounds of hazardous waste… I think perhaps the lesson is that we create hazardous waste treatment centers earlier if there is a potential for us to have a long-term presence."[4] Brigadier General Stephen R. Lanza, the US military spokesman in Iraq, said: "We take this issue very seriously and want to solve the problem. There is a variety of ways in which this [dumping] could have happened. We are now putting a system into place. There is a lot of catching up to do... Those responsible for this will be punished. It is something that once brought to our attention, we take very seriously."[3][4] The owner of one Iraqi company involved in the disposal of US military waste said: "The Americans properly separate the hazardous material from the plastic and scrap metal, and then pass it on to Kuwaiti and Lebanese companies. Some of the companies then mix it back together and pass it on to Iraqi companies. That's how they get rid of things."[3] DLA Disposition Services was not directly involved in any illegal waste disposal and was able to remove large amounts of waste from the country for proper disposal.

Excess Property Program

The DoD Excess Property Program (1033 program, formerly the 1208 program[5]) is a Defense Logistics Agency program to transfer leftover military materiel (supplies and equipment) to U.S. state and local civilian law enforcement agencies. The surplus equipment includes grenade launchers, helicopters, military robots, M-16 assault rifles, armored vehicles, riverboats, Battle Dress Uniform clothing, and information technology equipment.[6]

In 2011, the program resulted in the DoD giving away nearly $500 million worth of equipment, while in 2010, $212 million in gear were distributed.[7] Tim Lynch, director of Cato Institute's project on criminal justice stated that “The trend toward militarization was well under way before 9/11, but it’s the federal policy of making surplus military equipment available almost for free that has poured fuel on this fire.”[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "About DLA Disposition Services". DLA Disposition Services. January 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 August, Oliver (14 June 2010). "Blisters, rashes and toxic waste - the US Army's dirty little secret in Iraq". The Times. London. p. 8. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 August, Oliver (14 June 2010). "America leaves Iraq a toxic legacy of dumped hazardous materials". The Times. London. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 August, Oliver (15 June 2010). "Military to punish toxic waste dump culprits". The Times. London. p. 33. 
  5. "The 1033 Program". Justice Technology Information Network. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  6. "Department of Defense Excess Property Program (DoD 1033)". State of Missouri official web site. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  7. Carlson, Benjamin. "BATTLEFIELD MAIN STREET". The Daily. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  8. Johnson, Robert. "The Pentagon Is Offering Free Military Hardware To Every Police Department In The US". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 

External links

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