Posts Tagged ‘ammunition’

Feds ignite suspicion with explosive buying spree

by Steve Peacock


Two days after WND uncovered a U.S. State Department plan to buy hundreds of pounds of plastic explosives and thousands of containers of liquid explosives, the agency – which refuses to comment on the discovery – awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for the blasting supplies.

The explosives, including hundreds of pounds of C4, originally were to be shipped to Sterling, Virginia, home to the Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Unit, or DPM/U. The unit is tasked with sending secure pouches and crates to U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, as previously reported.

The original contracting documents still mention the DPM/U shipping destination and list a State Department contracting office address in Dun Loring, Virginia, site of a diplomatic-security field office.

But the new contract awards suddenly identify the contracting office address as 1701 N. Ft. Myer Dr., Arlington, Virginia – headquarters of the Office of Security Management within the State Department Construction, Facility and Security Management Directorate.

The directorate is a division of State’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, or OBO, whose mission is to provide “safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support our staff as they work to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives.”

The State Department thus far has awarded contracts in two explosives-procurement actions. Both went to the Arkansas-based Omni Explosives.

Omni will get $320,000 via Contract Award No. 10524H1636 to provide State with 450 pounds of C4 M112 explosives, nearly 2,600 containers of liquid and aluminum-powder explosives, 188 feet of “linear-shaped charges” and more than 8,000 blasting caps and other equipment. The award satisfies Solicitation No. FY14-GC-273.

State will pay Omni an additional $30,000 via Contract Award No. 10524H0257 for another 225 pounds of C4 plastic explosives, five pounds of C2 “sheet explosives” and 144 bottles of high-energy liquid explosives.

Accompanying the order, which satisfies Solicitation No. FY14-GC-281, are thousands of feet of detonating cord plus 18,000 feet of military-grade safety fuses and hundreds of blasting caps and fuse igniters.

State has not yet awarded contracts in Solicitation No. FY14-GC-282, which seeks yet another combination of C4 block, sheet and liquid explosives with accompanying caps, igniters and related blasting equipment. Nor has it awarded a contract for “explosive entry systems,” “blasting tubes” and inert C4 and dynamite via Solicitation no. FY14-GC-272.

The State Department in the meantime appears ready, for reasons unknown, to privatize some of its diplomatic pouch-service functions.

Within days of awarding the contracts for the explosives, which are to be delivered to the Sterling diplomatic facility, the Office of Logistics Management in State’s Bureau of Administration revealed its need for contractors “to provide technical, management, and labor necessary for Diplomatic Pouch and Mail Support Services at various Department of State Facilities in the Metro DC area.”

The ultimate destination for the explosives remains shrouded in secrecy, as State has failed to explain its intentions for the destructive materials.

Indeed, WND’s entreaties to State’s Office of Press Relations initially were met with laughter.

That inquiry was then stonewalled by a State spokesperson’s purported puzzlement about what WND wanted to know about the explosives.

Among other questions, State was asked to explain how the blasting equipment fits with its mission to “shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.”

State has not responded, despite putting in writing this and other questions, such as: “For what purpose is the department making these purchases? How – and where and by whom – will these explosives be used?”

State also recently published a bid request on a combined package of products ranging from explosives-storage lockers to hundreds of cans of spray paint.

It separately issued a similarly varied solicitation seeking several “ARMAG type” explosives-storage boxes – two eight-feet tall and another two that are 12-feet high – that meet all Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms “specifications for fire, weather and theft resistance.”

The solicitation also listed items such as binoculars, whistles, four 100-feet parachute cords and one roll of yellow, crime-scene marking tape.



On a semi-private website is a solicitation by the Department of Homeland Security for a total of 26.1 million rounds of ammunition, which it is seeking to purchase from a small business. Although this might seem like a lot, sources tell us it is not out of the ordinary.

Going through the website FedBid, DHS’ Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Arteia, New Mexico, is putting out a call for the training ammunition through competitive bids, which have to be at least $10, according to the post. Here’s a breakdown of what it wants:


The FLETC in New Mexico includes programs for Border Patrol, TSA and Indian Affairs. Specialized programs like Firearms Instructor Training Program and Defensive Tactics Instructor Training Program are also conducted at the Artesia facility.

The website FedBid is an online marketplace where federal, state and local governments, as well as businesses, can buy items or services. According to a profile about FedBiz owner Ali Saadat in the Washington Business Journal, the website conducted $1.4 billion worth of federal transactions in 2012.

Saadat said the concept for FedBid is changing how people in the industry would traditionally seek out and respond to business, which often includes sending requests for proposals or requests for quotes.

“That time is gone. It all happens on the Internet and in a transparent way,” Saadat told the Washington Business Journal.

Going through FedBid’s home page, to try and search for requests for goods or services, it appears that one has to sign up to become a member as a buyer or seller in order to view the marketplace pages.

As for the ammunition being solicited by DHS with bids ending Feb. 11, here are a few examples to put the amount into perspective:

In 2012, defense contractor AKT was awarded a five-year contract to provide 450 million rounds (max) to DHS.
The government sought 175 million rounds of .223 caliber rifle ammo in 2012 as well.
Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III said in 2004 testimony to the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the Committee on Arms Services that soldiers used 72 million rounds in Iraq in 2003 and that their expenditure at the time was 5.5 million rounds per month.
At the time of ATK’s contract award for 450 million rounds last spring, TheBlaze’s Tiffany Gabbay wrote that while this might seem like a lot of ammo, it wasn’t unusual. Gabbay wrote gun experts saying that it was part of a practice by such agencies to spend any budget surplus on useful items before the end of the fiscal year. That could be what is going on with this latest request for ammo but we don’t know for sure.

Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb, who runs the website SOFREP (the Special Operations Forces Report) told us in an email that everything on the list looks “perfectly normal” to him.

“It’s a training center for DHS so there going to need a lot, I mean a LOT, of ammo,” Webb wrote in an email. “Figure one day a guy will shoot through 500-1000 rounds a piece and it starts to add up.”

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