Inside the Gates: JBER warehouse holds unwanted surplus items for public purchase

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:43 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - People in the market for things like gym equipment, furniture or even ATVs may not think of the military base as a place to shop, but many things the government no longer wants are available to the public.

A large warehouse on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson houses the Defense Logistics Agency’s Disposition Services run by the Department of Defense. It’s where items the military has turned in from across Alaska end up. Area Manager Kathy Wigginton said the items, which range from computers to hospital beds, vehicles to sports equipment, are often older models the military is looking to upgrade but are otherwise in perfect working order.

“You never know what you are going to see here,” said Wigginton, describing the warehouse as a treasure hunt. “One time we got a casket. The old wooden kind that looked like Dracula could sleep in it, that was pretty interesting.” She went on to explain the casket had never been used.

Not everything is available to the public, according to Wigginton. Once items arrive, they go through a screening process where they are offered first to other DOD agencies as well as other federal and law enforcement agencies, free of charge.

“In the last year and a half, two years, we’ve requisitioned over $30 million of property,” said Wigginton. “That has saved the taxpayers from having to buy this property.”

Other things are recycled. Wigginton said recycling computers to remove the precious metals has resulted in millions of dollars in profits that go back to the federal government.

But lots of property is for sale to the public, although people can’t come to the warehouse to see it. Disposition Services uses a contractor, Iron Planet, that features government property on its website and allows users to look by state or location. Wigginton said, in general, the contractor splits the proceeds with the federal government.

Another opportunity for people is a special sale the agency is conducting at JBER for more than 200,000 pounds of mixed steel scrap metal. Wigginton said they are accepting any offers from the public and would even consider giving it away free if someone was willing to haul it away.

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