DHS to buy 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition

Published 15 February 2013

DHS is looking to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the next four or five years. This comes to about five bullets for every person in the United States.

Federal solicitations to buy the bullets are called strategic sourcing contracts, and Peggy Dixon, spokeswoman for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, said they help the government get a low price for a big purchase.

Fox News reports that the training center and others facilities run by DHS use as many as fifteen million rounds every year, mostly on shooting ranges and in training exercises.

Dixon said one of the contracts would allow DHS to buy up to 750 million rounds of ammunition during the next five years for its training facilities. The rounds are used for basic and advanced law enforcement training for federal law enforcement agencies supervised by DHS. The facilities also offer firearms training to tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officers.

Last year, more than ninety federal agencies and 70,000 agents and officers used DHS’s training center.

Fox News notes that the rest of the 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition would be purchased by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the second largest federal criminal investigative agency.

Fox news notes that ICE’s ammunition requests in the last year included:

  • 450 million rounds of .40-caliber duty ammunition
  • 40 million rounds of rifle ammunition a year for as many as five years, for a total bullet-buy of 200 million rounds
  • 176,000 rifle rounds on a separate contract
  • 25,000 blank rounds

Last year the Social Security Administration posted a notice that it was buying 174,000 hollow point bullets. Jonathan Lasher, the agency’s assistant inspector general for external relations, said at the time that the bullets were for the Social Security inspector general’s office, which has about 295 agents who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes.

Fox News notes that these two large bullet purchases – this year by DHS, and last year by SSA – were greeted in some quarters as evidence of some sinister plot. Thus, conservative radio host Alex Jones told his listeners that the purchase was evidence of an “arms race against the American people” and said the government was “gearing up for total collapse, they’re gearing up for huge wars.”

“The government’s explanation is much less sinister,” Fox news drily notes.