J. D. Heyes
March 27, 2013
Just move along, folks. There’s nothing to see here.
That’s the attitude of the Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano when it comes to scrutiny of her agency’s massive purchase requests for billions – that’s right, billions – of rounds of ammunition, along with 7,000 “personal defense weapons” (they would be called assault weapons if owned by private citizens), and 2,700 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) armored vehicles of the type used to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
These concerns are “unfounded,” according to low-level DHS officials – the only ones addressing the questions, since DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano thinks she is above doing so. All part of the department’s normal logistical needs. This kind of purchase is normal and should be viewed as such. Calm down.
From The Associated Press, which is merely regurgitating DHS’ talking points:
Federal solicitations to buy the bullets are known as “strategic sourcing contracts,” which help the government get a low price for a big purchase, says Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga . The training center and others like it run by the Homeland Security Department use as many as 15 million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.
The purchases are to be spread out over five years, the government says. Counting the most recent solicitation, which is viewable on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, DHS, in sum, is now looking to purchase nearly two billion rounds of ammunition. Even spread out over five years that is a staggering amount: 400 million rounds per year. The Defense Department doesn’t even use that much.
Okay, the math just doesn’t add up
If you take Dixon’s estimate of 15 million rounds used by various federal agents per year and then even double it for additional training and uses, it becomes obvious the federal government is stockpiling ammunition, pure and simple. The question is, why?
Talk show host Mark Levin, a lawyer who served in several posts during the Reagan administration and who is no conspiracy theorist, had this to say about DHS’ extraordinary purchases:
To provide some perspective, experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, the [Department of Homeland Security] is armed now for a 24-year Iraq war. … I’m going to tell you what I think is going on. I don’t think domestic insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies, they play out multiple scenarios. … I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating: the collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses. I suspect that just in case our fiscal situation, our monetary situation, collapses, and following it the civil society collapses, that is the rule of law, they want to be prepared. I know why the government’s arming up: It’s not because there’s going to be an insurrection; it’s because our society is unraveling.
Jeff Knox, director of The Firearms Coalition, notes that there are currently between 135,000 and 145,000 armed federal law enforcement officers. If you divide up the ammunition DHS is purchasing among all of them, that comes to nearly 14,000 rounds each.
Are you getting an idea now how implausible the department’s explanations are regarding plans for massive ammunition purchases in the coming years? And what about the assault rifles and MRAPs?
DHS has no history of purchasing this much ammunition - ever
For now, let’s just focus on the ammo issue. The excuses given by DHS officials for such a large purchase are 1) fed training facilities burn through a lot of ammo every year so the government needs these rounds; and 2) the government is merely taking advantage of bulk purchase pricing, like you and I would if we shopped at Sam’s Club or a similar bulk-savings retailer.
A Natural News examination of the FBO website; however, found that the government’s bulk ammo purchases are fairly recent, dating back to this solicitation to purchase 1,000 rounds of .40 cal. “frangible” ammo in 2008. Frangible bullets are designed to break apart when they strike a hard object, like a wall.
Government ammunition solicitations began to increase dramatically with this request for 50-75 million rounds in December 2010, eventually culminating in the billions of rounds now solicited, on order or set for delivery.
Ironically, the pace with which the government began purchasing so much ammunition, weapons and other military gear coincide with events here and abroad that do not bode well for the long-term economic health of our nation. So does that mean Levin, a seasoned political observer and former federal government insider who was once chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese, completely off the mark? Remember, this is a man who doesn’t subscribe to conspiracy theories.
Some questions that need to be answered
We have additional questions too, that no one in the mainstream media is asking:
– Why does the Department of Homeland Security need more ammunition than the Pentagon, which is actively fighting wars?
– If the department has ever purchased this much ammunition before, during what period of time did these purchases occur? Were these purchases requested over a similarly short period of time (a couple of fiscal years)? What calibers were purchased and in what amounts?
– Given that hollow points are not generally used for target practice because they are much more expensive, what is the purpose of ordering so many of this type of round?
– If such quantities of ammunition have been purchased by government law enforcement entities in the past, are those agencies ready to make public those purchase documents, along with sworn affidavits from the companies from which said ammunition was purchased?
– Why, in a time of budget austerity (the government is closing airport control towers and the White House to tours, for Pete’s sake), is DHS spending so much on dubious equipment?
– How does Napolitano explain the disparity between ammunition that is admittedly used every year with the actual amount ordered or requested? And why does every federal agent need nearly 14,000 rounds of ammunition?
– What does any department within DHS need MRAPs? What is their intended use?
Like an increasing number of lawmakers, we are also waiting for answers.