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US Department of Defence contract analysis

DoD Spend on Small Arms to Iraq Revealed: FPDS Database

This report is part of AOAV’s investigation into the US DoD spend on small arms, guns and ammunition from Sept 11, 2001 to Sept 10, 2015. Our research found many discrepancies between the contracts published on the DoD’s website and those found on the Federal Procurement Database System- research that can be read here. For information on what a small arm is, please see here. To understand more about US DoD contracts visit here. The investigation also included an examination of US expenditure for small arms for Iraq, which can be read here, and Afghanistan, sehere.

The FPDS is a searchable database. It records contracts from as little as $3,500, as well as all contract modifications that change previously reported data, and all task/delivery orders. The FPDS provides a comprehensive look into the contracts that have been awarded. It lists more specifically the amount that has been spent as part of a contract, any extra funds spent and even refunded amounts.

According to the DoD the FPDS contract records will include:

  • Contract number, modification number, and/or task/delivery order number
  • Obligation amount on the action
  • Base and all options value of the award (on modifications this is the net change to the base and all options value is reported)
  • A short description of what is being procured, along with the product service code (PSC) and North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code under which the action was solicited
  • Contract type
  • Whether the procurement included foreign military sales (FMS)
  • Number of offers received
  • Contractor name and address (also the contractor’s DUNS number)
  • Place of Performance
  • Treasury Account Symbol (TAS) Agency and Main Account (only since mid FY08)
  • Identification of multiyear contracts (see FAR 17.1)
  • Government contracting office
  • Date signed, effective date, completion date, estimated ultimate completion date (includes unexercised options), last date to order (if ordering vehicle)
  • Other data regarding competition, contractor’s socio-economic characteristics, legislative mandate data, and additional data about how the procurement was conducted (complete FPDS data dictionary v 1.4 is available at www.fpds.gov)

(Note:  reporting in FPDS-NG is based on the predominant amount; meaning, for example, if there is more than one category of good or service being purchased, the coding will reflect whatever category is the largest and the entire amount of funding will be reported as being spent on that category.)

However, the FPDS it seems rarely gives detail on the type of small arm being purchased, such as whether it is an AK47, an M2, or an M16. Moreover, if the weapons are being procured for a foreign military this is often not specified.

On cross-comparison with the Department of Defense (DoD) database, it became clear that at times small arms were actually listed under very broad headings on the FPDS, such as ‘miscellaneous ammunition’ or ‘miscellaneous weaponry’. Without reference to the DoD data it was often not clear whether these contracts included small arms.

This is why AOAV used both the FPDS the DoD archives to examine small arms expenditure between September 11 2001 and September 11 2015. The FPDS gave more detail on the expense, whereas the DoD was more comprehensive in regard to award details, such as small arm type.

From AOAV’s research on the FPDS contract archives AOAV found here to be $5.4billion spent on ‘guns through 30mm’ from September 11 2001 – September 11 2015. However, only $2.6 billion could be found on the FPDS from the contracts listed on the DoD. Of this, small arms spending to Iraq through the FPDS database is valued up to $135,153,163.73; over three times the value on the DoD database. Sales to Iraq including small arms, ammunition and attachments is as high as $186,995,415.48. Again, the differences in these figures are concerning.

See here for the small arms contracts that can be found on DoD archives for small arms to Iraq and a comparison between the totals found for the contracts on the FPDS.

 

For the data on 14 years of DoD contracts for small arms, ammunition and attachments, please go here.