Update: DHS Amminution Contracts
By Kevin Doran
November 9, 2012
Back in May 2012, we clarified information related to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) contract solicitation for .40 caliber handgun ammunition. Similar to earlier this year, the congressman has been receiving some letters and emails regarding the recent DHS contract solicitations for a large amount of rifle ammunition.
DHS is currently looking to enter into three separate contracts with ammunition producers for two types of rifle ammunition: .223 and .308 caliber bullets. The .223 contract is a 5-year “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity” (IDIQ) contract for no more than 165 million rounds (or a maximum of 33 million rounds per year). Contrary to some information being circulated, the contract is not for 200 million rounds.
As stated in our release in May 2012, IDIQ contracts allow DHS to purchase up to a certain number of needed items without requiring them to purchase a specific item and allows them to purchase this item over a certain number of years. This is a common form of contract used by DHS for many of their needed supplies, including working dogs, computer equipment, vehicles, etc. In creating an IDIQ contract DHS works with its agencies to determine the level of need of a particular item, then once they have an account of the full amount of an item needed and have reviewed those requests, they put out a request for an IDIQ contract. Setting up contracts in this manner allows for a cheaper purchase price, saving money over the long-term. In fact, contracts like this one saved taxpayers $336 million in FY2011 alone.
The .223 caliber bullet is used by DHS law enforcement officers primarily in duty-issued M-4 rifles. DHS employs at least 35,000 law enforcement personnel who are required to train and qualify on this rifle. That includes approximately 14,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents and all 21,000 Border Patrol Agents. Other components of DHS, including the US Secret Service (USSS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), etc. have additional personnel who qualify and/or practice on duty rifles that use this caliber of ammunition as well.
The solicitation language clearly states the contract will have a base period of one year with four one-year option periods. Therefore, 165 million rounds is the maximum volume only if the contract is extended for the full five years and DHS and its agencies order the maximum volume every year. If you take the minimum number of DHS agents required to train and qualify on M-4 rifle and divide it by the maximum ammunition allowance under this contract, that comes to about 4,700 rounds per agent per year (or about 78 rounds per month, or 2-3 rounds per day). As with the .40 caliber contract back in May 2012, considering these agents go through training exercises several times per year, that is not a lot of ammunition.
For the two .308 caliber bullet contracts, one is for 176,000 rounds of live ammunition, the other is for 25,000 rounds of blank ammunition. Both contracts are for one-time orders (not IDIQ contracts) and are bid based on a reverse auction, which is where competitors bid in a decreasing manner resulting in cost-savings for DHS. Both of these contracts are to be used for sharpshooter training, and the live ammunition would be spread out and delivered to nine DHS training sites nationwide, while the blank ammunition would be dispersed amongst five DHS training sites across the nation. The exact number of sharpshooters within DHS is classified as it includes the USSS, which closely safeguards that information in order to maintain their level of protection for the President.
Regardless, recent events in Benghazi, Libya and other Middle East nations have reinforced the fact that American citizens and US Government officials remain high value targets for our enemies. We need to continue to ensure those protecting our homeland have the tools and resources they need to successfully carry out their mission of protection. That does not, however, give an agency like DHS the authority to spend taxpayer dollars without justification. We have to ensure federal funds are being spent wisely, and as a member of the House of Representatives Congressman Westmoreland takes fiscal responsibility seriously. He is constantly on the lookout for any mismanagement or misappropriation of funds in federal agencies or Congress itself, and thanks all of his constituents who assist him by staying vigilant on these issues as well. It is with your help that we can get our nation back on a track of fiscal responsibility in order to preserve this nation for future generations.
Kevin Doran is Congressman Westmoreland’s deputy chief of staff and handles Second Amendment and national defense issues.