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CONTRACTORS GET FAT ON SERVICES

"The U.S. military spends billions of dollars each year to buy planes, ships, armored vehicles and ammunition, but in recent years it has spent even more on service contracts much of it without competitive bids," Defense News reports.

The Pentagon spent more than $122 billion on services in 2003, or about 56 percent of the money it paid to defense contractors that year, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan public policy research organization. The services range from feeding troops to interrogating Iraqi prisoners to helping draft the budget request the defense secretary sends to Congress.
"44 percent of the Pentagons contracts $362 billion worth since 1998 are awarded without competitive bidding," Defense News notes. And "among the top 10 defense contractors, only one SAIC received more than half of its contract awards through competition."
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