Pentagon Unsure Why it’s Supplied Local Police with 12,000 Bayonets

‘Senator, bayonets are available under the program; I can’t answer what a local police force would need a bayonet for’

During a Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing today, Sen. Rand Paul questioned why the Pentagon had supplied local police with 12,000 bayonets.

"I can't answer what a local police force would need a bayonet for," answered the Pentagon's principal deputy under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, Alan Estevez. 

"I can give you an answer: None," Paul curtly replied. 

 PAUL: “But, it gets back to the whole question. If you’re a police force anywhere in the country from Dundee, Michigan, of 3900, which has an MRAP (mine-resistance ambush protection) to 25 other cities under 25,000 have MRAP’s, they think these are for riot suppression. Well, I don’t know what they think they’re for in a city of 3900 people. But, many of the police forces think this is what the equipment is good for, is riot suppression in a big city, urban area. You’re specifically instructing that it’s not for that. We’ve talked about we’ve had maybe two instances of terrorism. We spend billions and billions of dollars and maybe two instances of terrorism. So I think by supplying all of this free equipment, much of which is, frankly, inappropriate, really shouldn’t be on anybody’s list of authorized equipment. Mr. Estevez, in the NPR investigation of 1033 program they list that 12,000 bayonets have been given out. What purpose are bayonets being given out for?”
ESTEVEZ: “Senator, bayonets are available under the program. I can’t answer what a local police force would need a bayonet for.”
PAUL: “I can give you an answer: None. So, what’s President Obama’s Administration’s position on handing out bayonets to the police force? It’s on your list. You guys create the list. Are you going to take it off the list or are we going to keep doing it?”
ESTEVEZ: “We’re going to look at what we’re providing under the Administration’s review of all these programs.”
PAUL: “So it’s unclear at this point whether President Obama approves of 12,000 bayonets being given out? I would think you could make that decision last week.”
ESTEVEZ: “I think we need to review all the equipment that we’re providing, senator. We, the Department of Defense, do not push any of this equipment on any police force. The states decide what they need.”

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