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Homeland Security finishing acquisition of millions of rounds of high-powered ammo

Published time: August 13, 2012 16:17
Edited time: August 13, 2012 20:17
Reuters / Jason Reed

Reuters / Jason Reed

The Department of Homeland Security is rushing to finish the acquisition of 750 million rounds of high-power ammunition that has already raised many eyebrows. In one week, the DHS should start expecting an arsenal that will make some armies jealous.

The DHS has updated a solicitation originally posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website earlier this year, now answering questions from prospective contractors about an inquiry the agency published back in April. All responses to the DHS’ request for hundreds of millions of rounds of high-power ammunition must still be sent in by August 20, but now the federal agency designated to thwart terrorism on the home front has answered some questions about what exactly they are looking for in terms of being able to blow stuff up.

In April, the DHS first published a solicitation “for commercial leaded training ammunition (CLTA) of various calibers for law enforcement officer firearms training courses” to be used at facilities in the states of Georgia, New Mexico, Maryland and South Carolina, as well as other unnamed DHS offices across the country. At the time the DHS demanded hundreds of thousands of test rounds for an array of ammunition types, including 209,000 rounds of #00 buckshot 8-pellet bullets for 12 gauge guns and more than 2 million shots for a .357 Sig Caliber. With their solicitation set to expire in less than a week, though, the DHS has taken it upon themselves to answer questions from contractors interested in their very pricey proposal.

In the latest amendment, published online over the weekend, the DHS answers such pressing questions as, say, “Would a 223 Rem 64Grain soft point round be acceptable?” in response to their initial request for 1.1 million rounds of .223 Rem Caliber 62.64 Grain JHP. (And, if you’re wondering, the official DHS-authored answer is, “Yes, that would be acceptable.”)

The DHS does not, however, answer why exactly they want to give its federal agents tasked with counterterrorism around 750 million rounds of ammo. On paper the proposal says their request is to fulfill training exercise requirements, but why is the DHS equipping their officers with the know-how to shoot a basketball-size hole in a human body?

And for those not keeping score, already this year the DHS has asked for upwards of 150 sets of full-body armor specifically to prepare law enforcement for any protests at the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and other events of national significance. Oh, and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has admitted that she wants the agency to accumulate more surveillance drones to conduct domestic surveillance for the sake of “public safety.”

But don’t worry: millions of rounds of high-powered ammo, stealth surveillance craft and an army of heavily armored federal agents is all for your own security.

According to the 2001 Executive Order that established the DHS signed by then-President George W Bush, the agency “will coordinate the executive branch's efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.”

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