Defense Contractors Shift to Border Patrol

Defense Contractors Shift to Border Patrol

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As the war in Afghanistan winds down, some of the largest military contractors are setting their sights on the U.S-Mexican border, hoping to cash in on the billions that will be spent on tighter border security if Congress passes immigration reform legislation.

“There are only so many missile systems and Apache attack helicopters you can sell,” Dennis L. Hoffman, an Arizona State University economics professor, told The New York Times. “This push toward border security fits very well with the need to create an ongoing stream of revenue.”

This summer, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Raytheon, among others, will compete for a billion-dollar contract from the Department of Homeland Security to provide the government with military-grade radar and long-range camera systems.

Northrop Grumman, meanwhile, is trying to secure a contract for an automated tracking device first used by soldiers in Afghanistan to detect roadside bombs. It could be used to search for illegal border crossers.          -  Read more at The New York Times

ON THE JOBS FRONT   The economy added 175,000 jobs in May and  the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent, from 7.5 percent in April, the  Labor Department announced this morning.  Read more at The Fiscal Times

GOV WATCHES AMERICA ONLINE   The Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras report that “the National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets.” Read more at The Fiscal Times

OBAMA MEETS WITH CHINESE LEADER The controversy over revelations of  NSA spying on Americans’phone records and Internet activity likely  will   overshadow President Obama’s weekend summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California. The leaders of the world’s two largest economies were discuss U.S. concerns over Chinese cyber attacks. But the news that the U.S. has been broadly spying on Americans’ phone activity may temper the the president’s indignation over hacking by the Chinese.  Read more at The New York Times

The Fiscal Times’ Josh Boak provides everything you need to know about  the Obama-Xi meeting here

EMAIL FLUB ON IMPROPER TARGETING   An email mistakenly sent from a Cincinnati-based IRS employee alerted a number of Washington IRS officials that the agency was excessively scrutinized conservative groups in July 2010, a year earlier than previously acknowledged, according to interviews with IRS workers by congressional investigators.

Reuters’ Kim Dixon and Patrick Temple-West report that “Elizabeth Hofacre, coordinating ‘emerging issues’  for the IRS's tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati, intended to send the message to a small group of employees, including some workers in Washington's tax-exempt unit.” Hofacre’s email revealed how Tea Party groups were being targeted.  It was an inadvertent heads-up for officials in Washington.  -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

GOV SELLS GM STOCK FOR $1 BILLION The Treasury Department said this morning it will sell 30 million shares of its General Motors Company (GM)  common stock at $34.41 per share. The offerings are expected to fetch l   $1.03 billion. Per the Treasury’s press release: “The Treasury's sale of its GM common stock is part of its continuing efforts to wind down the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). At the conclusion of this sale, the taxpayers will have recovered $32.53 billion of the initial GM investment…. The Treasury has already collected over 95 percent, or $399.40 billion, of  the funds disbursed through TARP ($419.97 billion). -  See the release here

SEQUESTER PROMPTS  RETIREMENT BACKLOG The government processed 19 percent fewer retirement applications in May than it did  in April, and Office of Personnel Management officials say sequestration is likely to blame. OPM said it completed 10,954 retirement claims last month – 2,628 fewer  than it processed in April – despite receiving roughly the same number of applications   both months.
Sequestration, which required the agency in April to ban overtime for retirement services employees through the end of fiscal 2013 and reduce its call center hours, will likely hamper the agency’s efforts to eliminate the backlog. -  Read more at Gov Exec

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.