Pentagon Awarded Multimillion-Dollar Contracts During Shutdown

Image: Pentagon Awarded Multimillion-Dollar Contracts During Shutdown

Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 05:47 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Though it suspended announcement of multimillion-dollar contract awards during the 16-day government shutdown, the Pentagon didn't stop giving them out, Defense One reported Tuesday.

Defense One said the Department of Defense awarded contracts valued at more than $6.3 billion during the shutdown, including Air Force contracts valued at $2.7 billion and Navy contracts worth $2.1 billion dollars.

Defense One noted the Pentagon ordinarily announces awards of contracts valued at more than $6.5 million on a daily basis, but stopped doing so on Oct. 1.

On Friday, however, the Pentagon posted the big contracts it had let since that time.

The biggest award came from the Air Force to United Launch Services LLC, a Boeing and Lockheed Martin joint venture — a $939.1 million deal for Delta IV and Atlas V rockets to launch satellites primarily for the National Reconnaissance Office, Defense One reported.

The largest technology contract was a five-year deal valued at $899.5 million, awarded by the Navy to 14 companies for computing infrastructure support.

The largest Army contract was a $346 million increase in a previously awarded $500 million contract to Harris Corp. for foreign military sales of its radios to Saudi Arabia, Poland, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Latvia and Romania.

The report came as Defense Department officials blasted restraints caused by the budgeting resolution passed to end the shutdown, calling it a "Groundhog Day approach to budgeting," The Federal Times reported.

"We are not allowed to do new starts, rate increases ... [or] new military construction projects," Defense Department comptroller Robert Hale said last week, the Federal Times reported.

A departmental spokesman, Cmdr. Bill Urban, told the Federal Times, "One major defense acquisition program that will be delayed is the Afloat Forward Staging Base, which will provide further flexibility for the U.S. Navy in the future."

"Perhaps one of the biggest problems ... is the fact that we essentially are required under the [continuing resolution] to buy the same ships this year as last year, because Congress appropriates by ship, and we have to repeat last year," he said. "It’s a Groundhog Day approach to budgeting."

The shutdown initially triggered the furlough of about 400,000 civilian employees; they were called back after a week out of work to lessen the impact on U.S. armed forces.

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