The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon frivolously spent most of the $1 billion given to it by Congress on jet engine parts and body armor, even though the money was meant to address the need for medical supplies in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Defense Department was supplied with the large sum of taxpayer money through the Defense Production Act with the understanding that it would be used to "prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus." The use of the DPA was intended to ensure that U.S. companies redirected their businesses towards manufacturing PPEs in the country's time of need.
Instead, the Pentagon gave hundreds of dollars to defense contractors, who were already benefiting off of the Paycheck Protection Program, while also failing to adhere to a stipulation in the PPP, which required that businesses could not lay off their employees. Donald Trump boasted in August that he has "used the DPA more comprehensively than any president in history."
The Washington Post breaks down where the Pentagon has been allocating their funds, which includes $183 million to firms including Rolls-Royce and ArcelorMittal to maintain the shipbuilding industry; tens of millions of dollars for satellite, drone and space surveillance technology; $80 million to a Kansas aircraft parts business suffering from the Boeing 737 Max grounding and the global slowdown in air travel; and $2 million for a domestic manufacturer of Army dress uniform fabric.
As Congress negotiates passing another stimulus package, the Pentagon and its defense contractors are requesting an additional $11 billion.