Navy Hat Trick

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Over breakfast the other day, a four-star general said the budget crunch means that any contract he issued for more than $5 million now needs a higher-up’s OK. He joked that he’d probably be issuing a lot more $4.9 million contracts soon.

At least Battleland thought he was joking.

The first three items listed in Friday’s roster of contract announcements are no doubt perfectly shipshape, but they do have that “make sure your bank deposits are less than $10,000 to avoid tipping off the feds” smell about them:

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Ashton Carter, Deputy Defense Secretary, has set a cap of $500 million in spending on contracts before the contract must be reviewed by senior DoD staff. Not surprisingly, this new policy has lead to some gamesmanship.

    On Dec. 29, the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.9 billion contract for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency space vehicle, a new communications satellite.

    Under Carter’s new guidance, this contract would have required review by Kendall, but according to Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, contracts of this size come along only a couple of times a year, at least for his command.

    “We’ve got several that are just coincidentally $499 million,” Shelton joked with reporters at a breakfast in Washington on Thursday.


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