If You're An American Taxpayer Check Out What Cost You $1.5 Billion Last Week

As the entire District of Columbia empties out, each representative going to the home district to — in the sarcastic words of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon — tell everyone “what a great job we’re doing” and get re-elected, the Pentagon had quite the lazy week. 

Last time we checked in on them, we saw the Department of defence spend $3.6 billion. This time, though, they really cut back and spent a mere $1.5 billion. 

So, with a relatively boring week in DoD acquisitions, we took a look at some of the smaller — but much, much cooler — projects the Department funded this week. 

In addition to another batch of F-35 fighters, the Department of defence bought advanced satellite gear, invested in the next phase of human intelligence, and made a curious payment to the Jordanian military. 

We’ll also look at how much the Department spent on food alone this week. 

America — enjoy your recent purchases:

pyramids Royal Jordanian air force

Photo: Royal Jordanian Air Force

$371 million to the Royal Jordanian Air Academy to train the Iraqi Air ForceThis is a new one. 

The Iraqi Air Force is being rebuilt from the ground up, with new American aircraft like the F-16. The Air Force only has a few pilots, and training them has involved bringing them the United States to train. Still, there can’t be ain air force without technical personnel, and that’s where the Jordanians come in. 

The U.S. is paying the Jordanian Air Academy $371 million to train the Iraqi Air Force technical personnel in both their jobs and the English language. The Royal Jordanian Air Force flies Bell helicopters, the C-130 Hercules, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon, so they’re pretty familiar with the American aircraft.  

Photo: US Navy

$209 million for 32 more F-35 fightersThe Naval Air Systems command is picking up another purchase of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet from Lockheed Martin. This modification, worth a fifth of a billion, adds on to a series of previous contracts that hits the near $5 Billion total.

The F-35 hit a major milestone this week during testing at Patuxent River, Maryland. The fighter jet dropped its first bomb, successfully bombing the testing range in the Atlantic with a dummy smart bomb. 

Occupy London Thermal

$47 million for the advanced Human Measurement and Signatures Intelligence Program
This is the start of a whole new project for the Department of defence. It’s the groundwork for the future of Signatures intelligence, and this cash is essentially start-up money. 

This contract provides $47 million to Infoscitex Corp of Waltham, Mass. for work to be completed by December, 2030. Yes, this contract is due decades from now. 

It’s for research and development for the Human Measurement and Signatures Intelligence program, which sees to use data to track people based on data trails they leave behind. It’s tech that can describe targets based on characteristics of their behaviour, and the intelligence community is betting that it will change the future of their game. 

airforce c130A C-130 air drop.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

$12 million for advanced communications satellite hubsWe saw a contract for $12.2 million for an “ArcLight2 KuSS Hub mobile satellite communication system,” and that just set off all sorts of alarms. Here’s what that means. 

This is one of the advanced communications systems that the defence Department has been buying lately. This transmits high-quality video from the C-130 Hercules to command. It’s practically live video for the command home base, a huge step forward in communications tech. At the moment, the only user is the Special Operations Command. 

ViaSat is making the satellite hubs. The system greatly expands situational awareness, and the satellite network supporting it could be the backbone of a system that is on much more than just the C-130. 

Sysco food truck

Photo: flickr / karen_2873

Bonus: The defence Department bought $151 million worth of food service this weekSince this was a bit of a boring week overall, here’s a glimpse into the kind of contracts that comprise most of the Department of defence buys. It’s a look at the DoD as an economy of scale, making huge bulk purchases of even the simplest of amenities. Like a huge amount of food. 

Two contracts — $46 million to US Foods, and $104 million to Sysco Hampton Roads Inc. — were purchases of food service. For perspective, that second contract is mostly for one base, Norfolk Naval Ship Station in Virginia. Each of these contracts is for a years worth of food service for somewhere, and there are contracts like these every week. When you’re one of the largest employers in the world, feeding your people is only one of many logistic necessities. 

Now check out the 20 Aircraft Carriers in-service around the world >

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