When it comes to our nation's defense, the government bears no expense which is to the ultimate benefit of not only the U.S. public, but also to thousands of military contractors.
According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the United States' Department of Defense spends $610 billion annually, a figure that is more than the annual military budgets of "the next seven countries combined". A sizable portion of this multi-billion dollar budget goes to pay government military contractors that provide everything from the planes our troops fly to the missiles these planes drop.
One of those military contractors, L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., recently agreed to pay the U.S. Government $25.6 million to settle a civil lawsuit that it violated the False Claims Act. According the lawsuit, the company is accused of selling the U.S. military "thousands of holographic weapon sights that is knew were defective."
The parts, which were used by U.S. troops and law enforcement officials to more accurately zero in on targets, were alleged to "fail in extreme cold or humidity." The government asserts that, for more than eight years, L-3 knew about and intentionally hid the fact that the parts were defective while it continued to sell them to the U.S. government. Not only did the company's actions potentially compromise the success of military and law enforcement operations, but they were also in explicit violation of the government contract’s disclosure terms.
Government contractors who overcharge, fail to disclose or who commit fraud are often subject to both criminal and civil lawsuits. Employees who work at a company that performs contract work for the government are encouraged to come forward in the event they learn of these types of illegal activities.
Source: Reuters, "Military contractor L-3 pays $25.6 million to settle U.S. fraud lawsuit," Jonathan Stempel, Nov. 24, 2015
Courthouse News, "Contractor to Pay $25M to Settle Fraud Claims," Kevin Lessmiller Nov. 25, 2015