Featured image courtesy of American Special Ops

The Navy SEALs have been telling a San Diego congressman that they’re under-equipped and forced to spend their own money on combat gear, and he is on a quest for answers.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., asked the military’s top special operator whyNavy special operators are forced buy some pieces of their own gear and to turn in their firearms at various points in the deployment cycle.

“They don’t get weapons now to work up with for two years. They get their weapon when a guy comes back,” Hunter said. “They have to turn that weapon back in again even if they’re still in work-ups and they’re going to deploy nine months later.”

It’s a different process than between 2001 and 2010, Hunter said, based on the accounts of sailors who have visited his home office.

“I was in the Marine Corps. We just took what we could get and do what we were told,” he added. “But you guys are special. That’s why you have special in your name.”

Army Gen. Josephy Votel, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, deferred to Rear Adm. Brian Losey’s team at Naval Special Warfare Command, adding that the teams’ high op tempo might be backing up some maintenance with the weapons.

“This is not a factor of too many rounds going through the weapon,” Hunter retorted. “It’s a matter of where the money’s being spent. What are your priorities for the SEALs? If it isn’t having a weapon that stays with you for a deployable term, then what are they?”

Hunter’s questioning follows a Feb. 17 letter his office sent to Losey and NSW, arguing it’s a problem that some SEALs say they’re under-trained -equipped despite their millions of dollars in recent budget boosts.

“More concerning, it is my understanding that there aren’t enough weapons for SEAL teams — let alone an individual operator — to have their own weapons,” Hunter wrote. “As it currently stands, following a deployment, a SEAL will have his weapon taken from him, which has been fine-tuned to certain specifications, and given to a different operator to use. This means that SEALs standing by to deploy are waiting for different teams to come back stateside just so they can use their weapons.”

Hunter requested a report of how the command spend its funds in 2015.

“I can confirm that Congressman Hunter has a congressional inquiry and we’re working to provide responses to that,” Naval Special Warfare spokesman Cmdr. Jason Salata told Navy Times.

Read more at Navy Times