Pentagon’s $5.5 Billion Dollar Shutdown Spending Spree
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The Fiscal Times
October 2, 2013

Just hours before Congress shut down the federal government and put hundreds of thousands of federal workers out of work, the Pentagon quietly went on a shopping spree and spent billions.

The Defense Department awarded 94 contracts totaling more than $5.5 billion on everything from Mercedes-Benz trucks and robot submarines to a new gym at the Air Force Academy, complete with a television studio, Foreign Policy first reported.

Then a few hours later, the government shut down and 400,000 DOD civilian employees were furloughed until further notice.

RELATED: FEDERAL WORKERS FEELING THE STING OF THE SHUTDOWN

The Pentagon awards hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-approved contracts to companies every day, but it typically spends more on the last day of the fiscal year.

This time, however, was a different story, since Congress still hasn't approved a budget to fund the government for the New Year. Leaving all departments and federal workers in limbo until the standstill on Capitol Hill is resolved.

Here's a sample of what was in DOD's shopping cart Monday night:

$2.5 billion – for "spare parts" used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The contract was awarded by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to Connecticut-based aircraft engine-maker Pratt & Whitney.

$230 million for the continuing operation of the X-band radar station that the Missile Defense Agency uses to detect ballistic missile launches. The contract was awarded to Massachusetts-based Raytheon.

$200 million for body armor and tactical vests made by Federal Prisons Industries to sell to other countries.

$139 million for sonar made by Lockheed Martin that allows destroyers to detect submarines and underwater mines.

$66 million for a new fuel pier at the Naval Base Point Loma.

$65 million for military helmets made by Arizona-based BAE systems, and used by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

$64 million to Lockheed Martin for help operating spy satellites that are equipped with infrared cameras.

$49 million to Boeing to develop an upgraded version of the Army's MH-6 Little Bird chopper.

$49 million for 16 MQ-9 Reaper drones made by General Atomics for France.

$40 million for scalable offensive hand grenades that lets users choose the level of blast needed for the situation. The contract was awarded to Arizona-based Nammo Talley.

$19 million on cots for the Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force (At these prices, they better be Tempur-Pedic)

$18 million for a robot submarine that can save people from broken submarines up to 2,000 feet underwater.

 $15 million for a bulk of helium.

$9 million for field jackets for the Afghan National Police Force.

$9 million for the Air Force Academy's new gym that will include CrossFit training, a Triathlon Club and a television studio (for some reason).

$7.5 million purchase of 60 Mercedes-Benz trucks for the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

$6 million for thermally insensitive telescope mirrors created by Trex Enterprises. 

Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.