Pentagon Corruption: Covid Cash for Body Armor; Billions for Atom Bombs

September 23rd, 2020 - by CODEPINK & Stephanie Flores / Common Defense & Justine Coleman / The Hill

$494 Billion for Nuclear Weapons?


 (September 21, 2020) — This week marks two important events for the peace community: today is the International Day of Peace and September 26th is the International Day to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.

We are honoring this important week by taking action against a growing Pentagon budget, which allocates too many of our resources to nuclear weapons. First, we’re holding our representatives accountable for their vote on historic legislation to cut the Pentagon budget by 10%. T

hen, on Saturday, September 26th, we’re joining our friends at Massachusetts Peace Action in the streets to demand that we divest from nuclear weapons and invest in peace. You can join a rally we have planned here. If you don’t see your city represented, we can help you plan a rally in your local community

It’s important that we commemorate the International Day of Peace and the International Day to Eliminate Nuclear weapons by taking action. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons spending plan would cost an average of about $50 billion per year between 2019 and 2028. 

This means the Pentagon is set to spend $494 billion on nuclear weapons in the next 10 years.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our representatives recently voted on historic legislation to cut the Pentagon budget by 10%. Do you know how your representative voted?  

Now is the time to take action to hold our representatives accountable for approving a $740 billion Pentagon budget during the middle of a pandemic and tell them that we must divest from nuclear weapons and invest in human needs! Find out how your representative voted on legislation to cut the Pentagon budget by 10% and take action to hold them accountable!

Did your Congressional Representative Vote to Cut the Pentagon Budget by 10%?

I If yes, thank them for their support and ask that they join the newly formed Defense Spending Reduction Caucus here.

If not, they have blood on their hands! Take action to demand that they stop taking campaign contributions from weapons manufacturers and hold them accountable here. 

On Saturday, September 26, we’re also partnering with our friends at Massachusetts Peace Action to join the national movement to stand out for the elimination of nuclear weapons and call on Congress to divest from war and invest in human needs. Local peace activists from California to New Mexico to Illinois to Massachusetts will be in the streets to demand that we divest from nuclear weapons and invest in peace. 

ACTION: You can join a rally we have planned here. If you don’t see your city represented, we can help you plan a rally in your local community. Once you sign up to join or host a rally, we’ll be in touch to make sure you have all of the resources you need to rally to divest from nuclear weapons on Saturday.

Following our Congressional representative’s historic vote on legislation that would cut the Pentagon budget by 10% being on the streets on Saturday, September 26 is an important way to keep the pressure up and remind them we still need to slash funding for nuclear weapons in the Pentagon budget and invest in life-affirming programs!

Our work to not just defund nuclear weapons, but eliminate them altogether, is more urgent than ever. Contact your representative to hold them accountable for their vote on legislation which should havecut funding for nuclear weapons. Then, join us for a rally in your local community on September 26th to commemorate the International Day to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons. 

Towards a nuclear-free world — Carley, Ariel, Ann, Caty, Cody, Danaka, Emily, Jodie, Kelsey, Leila, Leonardo, Mary, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, Teri, and Yousef © 2020 CODEPINK.ORG

ACTION ALERT: Pentagon Used Covid-19 Funds to Buy Body Armor

Stephanie Flores (USN, Ret.) / Common Defense

 (September 22, 2020) — The Pentagon has been directing money from a $1 billion fund, which should have been used to pay for masks and COVID-19 test swabs, to defense contractors to produce military equipment.

Among the diverted funds: 

  • $183 million went to firms including Rolls-Royce and ArcelorMittal for shipbuilding
  • $80 million went to a Kansas aircraft parts business for jet engine parts
  • $2 million was used for a manufacturer of Army dress uniform fabric
  • And tens of millions of dollars was used for satellite, drone and space surveillance technology

This is just another clear example of how Trump and his administration, including leaders at the Defense Department, have priorities that leave Americans behind. While people are dying everyday from this pandemic, Trump and his cronies are worried about adding to the already astronomical defense budget at our expense.

ACTION ALERT: Hold the Pentagon Accountable for COVID Corruption

Win Without War

(September 22, 2020) — BREAKING: The Pentagon has funneled almost $700 million of COVID-19 relief funds intended to build up *medical equipment supplies* to massive defense contractors for things like jet engine parts and body armor. [1]

This is corruption, plain and simple — and all of us ARE already paying the price of the Pentagon’s waste.

These funds could’ve shored up the severe shortage of N95 masks at numerous U.S. hospitals. Or supported desperately needed vaccine distribution infrastructure. Instead, the funds were funneled “to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms.”

There is only one solution: the Pentagon needs to pay this money back. Seems impossible, but we CAN force them to do it, if we act FAST.

Right now, Congress is negotiating a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) — without it, the government will shut down in eight days. That gives the House of Representatives HUGE leverage to include a provision forcing the Pentagon to pay taxpayers back for their egregious waste of COVID funding.

Urge your Representative to demand that the Pentagon pay back the nearly billion dollars in COVID funding it spent on jet parts and body armor.

Of the $1 billion Congress allocated to the Pentagon as part of the CARES Act *specifically* to spur the manufacturing of PPE, $183 million went to enormous defense contractors like Rolls-Royce and ArcelorMittal, $80 million to a Kansas aircraft parts company, $2 million for a manufacturer of Army dress uniform fabric, and so on.

The Pentagon’s corruption has gotten so shameless that it’s hard for even it’s most ardent supporters to stomach.

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise. For decades Washington’s approach has assumed that a big military will make us invincible. But the truth is (and it’s worth saying again): We can’t fight pandemics with fighter jets.

Enormous challenges like COVID, climate change, inequality, and systemic oppression can only be tackled if we redistribute the enormous, nearly TRILLION dollar annual Pentagon budget.

This blatant reallocating of nearly a BILLION dollars meant for medical supplies into boosting the profits of the Pentagon’s favorite contractors is outrageous, and we cannot let it stand. The House *must* use its leverage in the CR negotiations to force the Pentagon to pay taxpayers back.

Add your name: Urge Congress to demand the Pentagon pay back the nearly billion dollars in COVID relief it spent on jet engines and body armor.

This week has been hard, like so many weeks this year — it’s easy to feel despondent, to think that we can’t make change.

But, you know what? That’s what the people like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Mike Pompeo, and all the other war hawks want us to feel, because our hopelessness is key to them being able to gobble up more power and keep millions of people disenfranchised.

There’s no way I’m getting complacent. No way I’m giving them the satisfaction of thinking — for one second — that I’m not paying attention, and Gar, I have a feeling you’ll join me.


To members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

We are outraged by reports in the Washington Post that the Pentagon reallocated the vast majority of one billion dollars of CARES Act funding for medical supplies towards defense needs like jet engine parts and body armor. This is corruption pure and simple — and particularly when so many families across the country are struggling to make ends meet, it is shameful.

People across the country have had to make incredible sacrifices this year, and for far too many — 200,000 as of September 22 — simply too much has been taken. 

Taxpayer dollars should be directed where they are most needed. I urge you to require the Pentagon give the money back and ensure that these funds are spent on the COVID relief for which it was originally intended under the CARES Act.

Thank you for working for peace,

Erica, Faith, Abbey, and the Win Without War team


[1] Washington Post, “Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor

Pentagon Redirected Pandemic Funds to Defense Contractors

Justine Coleman / The Hill

(September 22, 2020) — he Pentagon redirected most of its $1 billion in pandemic funding to defense contractors who exchanged the money for jet engine parts, body armor, dress uniforms and other military needs, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.  

The CARES Act passed by Congress in March granted the Department of Defense $1 billion to both prevent and get ready to respond to the coronavirus, but the Post reported that in the weeks that followed, hundreds of millions of the taxpayer money was instead utilized to obtain military supplies.

This was a change from the intent of Congress, the Post noted.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials are still requesting funding for pandemic response, including $6 billion for states to make vaccines available when they are developed and to address a shortage in N95 masks for hospitals. The Pentagon has also requested that $11 billion be provided in a potential new stimulus bill being debated by Congress. 

Congress instructed the $1 billion in the CARES Act to go to Defense Production Act (DPA) efforts, which permits President Trump to direct U.S. companies to manufacture necessary products, such as personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Months after the funding was allocated, department lawyers concluded the money could be used for defense production, including projects that had little to do with responding to the pandemic, the Post reported. Smaller firms received more than a third of the funding for less than $5 million, but hundreds of millions of dollars went to several large companies.

At least 10 of the about 30 contractors awarded with DPA funding also received money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Post found. 

Jessica Maxwell, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, told The Hill in a statement that the DPA funding and PPP program are not “in conflict or duplicative.” 

She said the CARES Act did not restrict the funding to medical resources and certain defense spending was “appropriate as long as they addressed COVID related impacts in the industrial base.”

“The law set forth no limitation requiring use only in the medical supply industrial base,” she said.

She noted that the law authorized the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the medical resource supply. Maxwell added that economic impacts from the pandemic “necessitated prompt action … to sustain and strengthen essential domestic industrial base capabilities.”

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, defended the actions in a statement to the Post

“We are thankful the Congress provided authorities and resources that enabled the [executive branch] to invest in domestic production of critical medical resources and protect key defense capabilities from the consequences of COVID,” Lord said. “We need to always remember that economic security and national security are very tightly interrelated and our industrial base is really the nexus of the two.”

The Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee said in a report that the Defense Department’s spending on money allocated from the CARES Act was not distributed as intended.

“The Committee’s expectation was that the Department would address the need for PPE industrial capacity rather than execute the funding for the DIB (defense industrial base),” the committee wrote in its 2021 defense bill report.

Defense industry groups said the funding was needed to keep certain contractors in business during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Pentagon Used Taxpayer Money Meant for Masks and Swabs to Make Jet Engine Parts and Body Armor

Mark Frauenfelder /

 (September 22, 2020) — Don’t worry — defense contractors are faring well during the coronavirus. The Washington Post reports the Pentagon diverted $1 billion in taxpayer funds intended for pandemic-related medical equipped to defense contractors to “make things such as jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms.”

Among the awards: $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.

The “suffering” Kansas aircraft parts business is Spirit AeroSystems. The CEO Thomas C. Gentile III was profiled last year in Money, Inc.

Mr. Gentile is handsomely rewarded for his hard work and dedication to Spirit Aerosystems. There is nothing that is easy about the rigors of being in charge of leading the company, and full responsibility for its success rests upon his shoulders.

Spirit rewards his efforts with a salary that is $1,241,233, with a bonus for his excellent performance of an additional $1,546,576. He also receives stock and other types of compensation, which for the 2018 fiscal year amounted to $9.9 million.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.