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Defense Surplus Equipment Disposal: Background Information

Property (FEPP) Program, administered through the Forest Service, provides equipment to state and territorial forestry programs for wild land and rural firefighting. 19

Humanitarian Assistance Program

Title 10 U.S.C. 2557 authorizes DOD to provide excess property for humanitarian relief, domestic emergency assistance, and homeless veterans’ assistance, as coordinated through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Office of Humanitarian and Refugee Affairs. 20

Public Sales

Property not reused, transferred, or donated can be sold to the general public through public auctions and sealed bidding. Munitions, explosives, and strategic items are not sold.

Veteran Groups

There are at least two ways that veteran groups can qualify for eligibility for DOD surplus property.

If property cannot be reused or transferred to other federal agencies, it may be donated to state and local government programs. Each state has designated a “State Agency for Surplus Property Program,” a local governing authority to receive and distribute all federal surplus property. The program authorizes “screeners” to handle the logistics, and the state agency may charge a fee for handling the transaction. Eligible recipients include, but are not limited to, organizations that promote public health, safety, education, recreation, conservation, and other public needs, including veteran’s groups and Native American organizations. Groups that qualify as a “service education activity” may have a slight priority in the screening process. 21

Property can also be acquired in accordance with Public Law 80-421, which authorizes the Secretaries of the Military Departments to donate or loan certain types of surplus military equipment to recognized, selected recipients.22 The DLA Disposition Services website lists the following organizations as authorized to acquire, through donation or loan, obsolete or condemned combat material, books, manuscripts, works of art, drawings, plans and models for historical, ceremonial and display purposes:

  • Veteran organizations;

  • Soldiers Monument Associations;

  • State Museums;



20 See https://www.dispositionservices.dla.mil/rtd03/miscprograms.shtml; also, http://www.state.gov/t/pm/iso/ c21542.htm.



22 See 10 U.S.C. 2572, Documents, Historical Artifacts, and Condemned or Obsolete Combat Materiel: Loan, Gift or Exchange. Accessed online at http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/2572.

Congressional Research Service


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