Comment: Homeland Security’s Ammunition Purchases Should Not Worry You

(See in situ)

Homeland Security’s Ammunition Purchases Should Not Worry You

Talk of the Department of Homeland Security’s recent ammunition solicitations has gone from the fringes of the internet to the mainstream in websites like Forbes. I was disappointed by the Forbes article – rather than talk cold hard facts, it was rife with ill-informed speculation.

Government and military procurement is a very complex topic; so complex, in fact that it’s sometimes hard to discern best value practices from actual waste, fraud, and abuse. However, there are practically no examples of nefarious acquisitions intended to be used for the subjugation of the American populace. These ammunition contracts and solicitations are no exception.

Before we begin, it’s important to understand that an RFQ (request for quote) or solicitation is not a purchase. When Infowars says something like “the Department of Homeland Security is planning to buy a further 750 million rounds of ammo in addition to the 450 million rounds of hollow point bullets already purchased earlier this year,” or “Following controversy over its purchase of around 1.2 billion bullets in the last six months alone, the Department of Homeland Security has put out a new solicitation for over 200 million more rounds of ammunition,” the reader is led to assume, naturally, that DHS has actually purchased that amount of ammunition. That is simply not the case. A solicitation is the equivalent of a want-to-buy ad on Craigslist, writ large. It’s not an actual purchase.

So if DHS hasn’t actually bought 1.2 or 1.6 billion rounds in one year, then what have they bought, and what do they plan to buy? Well, a year ago they awarded an IDIQ contract for up to 450 million rounds of .40 S&W ammunition over the next 5 years. They plan to buy, over the next 5 years, 63 million rounds of a wide variety of ammunition ranging from 12 gauge birdshot to .38 special wadcutter to .30-06 FMJ ammo; there are even line items for .308 blanks.

An IDIQ, or indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, means that DHS didn’t simply buy 450 million rounds of ammunition at one time. The contract is spread out over a 5 year period, and it’s an upper limit, meaning up-to-90 million rounds of .40 S&W each year from that up-to-450 million round award. DHS could, if they wished, buy 73 million rounds the first year, 84 million the second, and so on. It depends on their needs at the time.

There is, as mentioned above, an Infowars article which refers to a “750 million round purchase,” but the PDF linked in said article is a solicitation which only contains line items which add up to 63,256,000 rounds. Confused? Here’s what DHS spokesperson Marsha Catron had to say about that:


Here's the actual req where they did the exact same thing in 2008: