Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Department of Defense" ...

  • Mississippi Child Care Crisis

    Mississippi has some of the lowest standards for child care centers in the country and some of the weakest oversight. The Hechinger Report joined with the Clarion-Ledger to investigate how the state fails to serve all its children well, why it falls short and possible solutions. Our 18-month investigation revealed a child care system in Mississippi plagued by a lack of funding and support. We looked into low standards and pay for child care center employees, difficulties parents face in finding and paying for childcare, and years of legislative inaction in improving conditions for children. We highlighted solutions for the state, such as the Department of Defense’s strong child care system, and investigated trends, such as frequent absences among child care center directors. In December, Mississippi officials said the state would adopt a host of new strategies meant to reform the system, many of them similar to the best practices we wrote about.
  • The Pentagon Finally Details its Weapons-for-Cops Giveaway

    The Marshall Project, in collaboration with MuckRock, published, for the first time, agency-level data on the Pentagon's 1033 program, a program brought to light during the protests in Ferguson, Mo., in which the Pentagon gives surplus weapons, aircraft and vehicles to law enforcement agencies. We wrote an initial story on the data, created an easy-to-use, embeddable widget, and put together a "Department of Defense gift guide," highlighting some of the more perplexing giveaways. The story led to unprecedented public scrutiny of military equipment going to law enforcement agencies, as over forty local news outlets published articles detailing what their local cops had received.
  • 1033 program

    Over the past year, MuckRock reporter and projects editor Shawn Musgrave investigated the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which distributes excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies nationwide. After the Department of Defense rejected FOIA requests for data indicating which departments had received tactical equipment such as assault rifles, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers, Musgrave — spurred by events in Ferguson — submitted FOI requests to each state’s 1033 program coordinator. This effort not only secured this crucial data for 38 states, but also pressured the Pentagon to reverse its position and release spreadsheets which detailed what tactical equipment had been distributed to every participating agency in the country. MuckRock’s investigation of the 1033 program revealed such questionable transfers as mine-resistant vehicles distributed to school districts and helicopters allocated to small-town police departments.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Ed: On Campus, Grenade Launchers, M-16s, and Armored Vehicles

    The Chronicle’s investigation revealed nearly 120 college police forces acquired military gear from the Department of Defense through the controversial 1033 program. Advocates contended the low-cost equipment is an indispensable resource during crowd-control situations or active-shooter incidents. Detractors argued the procurement of tactical gear fails to aid against the types of crimes that occur more frequently on college campuses, like alcohol-related incidents and sexual assault. Others worried military equipment is an especially poor fit on college campuses, and feared it may have a chilling effect on free expression.
  • Semper Fi: Always Faithful

    Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger was a devoted marine for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor, he lived and breathed the Marine Corps and was responsible for training thousands of new recruits. When Jerry’s nine-year-old daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, his world collapsed. As a grief-stricken father, he struggled for years to make sense of what happened. His search for answers led to the shocking discovery of one of the largest water contamination sites in US history. For thirty years, unbeknownst to the Marines living there, the Marine Corps improperly disposed of toxic cleaning solvents that contaminated the drinking water at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base. It is estimated that nearly one million Marines and their families may have been exposed to high levels of carcinogens through the water. 25 years after the wells were finally closed, only a fraction of former residents know about their exposure to the toxic chemicals. In the process of investigating the Camp Lejeune contamination, a larger issue comes into focus - the abysmal environmental record of the military. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense is the United States’ largest polluter, which raises grave questions about environmental conditions at other bases across the country. “Semper Fi: Always Faithful” is a timely and sobering story of the betrayal of US soldiers and is a call to action for more environmental oversight of military sites.
  • The Five Percent Rule

    The investigation uncovers the U.S. military's failure to comply with its own tobacco pricing restriction, selling millions of dollars of tobacco products for well beneath legal limits.
  • "Breach of Trust"

    Soldiers on all levels of the U.S. Armed Forces used fake college diplomas to increase chances of "promotions and pay raises." WHNT-TV revealed that several AMCOM employees had also presented "fake degrees" to the "Department of the Army." The investigation spurred a reconstruction of HR Specialist training, as the command's "ability to detect" to false diplomas was severely flawed.
  • Weapon of Choice

    This series investigates the United States military's use of depleted uranium. The series reveals that some "54,567 soldiers said they had been exposed to depleted uranium sometimes or often". The symptoms of those exposed to this are vomiting, difficulty in breathing, and overall feelings of weakness. Furthermore, it has been known to bind to DNA, which can cause mutations and cell death.
  • How the US Funds the Taliban

    This investigation uncovered Taliban insurgents reaping millions of dollars in Department of Defense contracts. "These contracts have become an immense boon for the Taliban, as security firms found that paying off the insurgents was the only way to get supplies through hostile territory to US troops." This has become a large part of the Taliban's income.
  • Backyard Bombs

    In 1983, two boys were killed in San Diego as a result of old munitions explosion in a nearby canyon. San Diego County has a long military history of training camps and defense sites which have been turned into residential neighborhoods, but traces of that past are still seen today as some explosives were never removed.