Fact Checking: ‘Obama DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks’
This week, conspiracy hounds of the internet were set alight by a rumor that President Obama has ordered “2,700 Light-Armored Tanks” for the Department of Homeland Security. Leading the charge was Jim Hoft who runs the blog Gateway Pundit:
This is getting a little creepy.
According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm.
DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP).
Modern Survival Blog reported:
The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.
This in turn was linked by Drudge Report which set this internet hoax in motion.
Here are the facts…
An MRAP is not a light-armored tank but instead an “armored fighting vehicle” whose acronym stands for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected. You will notice too that someone has edited the Wiki page including today’s hoax:
In September 2012, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States. The Department of Homeland Security has used MRAPs in Rapid Response Teams in assisting people effected by natural disasters such as Hurricanes.
Now, let’s go back and look at the figure cited in today’s hoax or 2,717 MRAPs. It seems like a high figure already for DHS. Yes, DHS used armored vehicles, but at this time I have not located the exact amount and type of armored vehicles in their fleet. Where is that figure from is the important question and I able to locate a contract for 2,717 MRAP for the United States Navy:
Defense.gov: Contracts for Monday, January 09, 2012
Navistar Defense, L.L.C., Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded an $879,923,195 firm-fixed-priced delivery order 0023 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032) for the procurement of 2,717 units of rolling chassis; 10 engineering change proposals; and 25 contract data requirements lists, for MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Work will be performed in West Point, Miss., and is expected to be completed by the end of October 2013. Procurement funds in the amount of $879,923,195 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The original contract was competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.
The conclusion that the 2,717 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are for the Department of Homeland Security is false. Instead, they are part of a contract award to the US Navy and will be subsequently used by the United States Marine Corps.
A search for M67854-07-D-5032 at the Federal Procurement Data System reveals that all contract under this number are for the United States Navy.
Finally, I’ll leave the reader to one more source here:
Lisle-based Navistar Defense LLC landed an $880 million order from the U.S. Marine Corps to upgrade more than 2,700 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, the company announced Tuesday.
The Navistar International Corp. subsidiary will retrofit the MaxxPro vehicles with new rolling chassis to improve their off-road capability.
“As Defense budgets are being reduced, it is imperative that we continue to develop economical solutions that repurpose assets while also working to ensure warfighters have access to emerging technologies and capabilities,” Navistar Defense President Archie Massicotte said in a statement. “Our rolling chassis solution allows us to leverage our unique vehicle design and replace an older chassis with a new, highly mobile independent suspension chassis.”
In summary, the 2,700 vehicles are not for DHS but the USMC by way of the US Navy.
Update 1: Business Insider confirms this report and DHS is only in possession of 16 MRAP and the USMC getting the 2,717:
An earlier version of this post included a figure of over 2,700 vehicles, as cited from the original RT link. This figure likely comes from a press release from Navistar Defense, mentioning delivery of 2,717 to the U.S. Marine Corps. A DHS Spokesman confirmed with Business Insider that they have only 16 nationwide.
Update 2: Foreign Policy updates their story linking with Business Insider.
As one would expect, tales of DHS buying 2,700 MRAPs from the Army (in reality, DHS only has 16, a fleet that it started building around 2008) inflamed the government conspiracy corners of the blogosphere. Just do a quick Google search of the term DHS MRAP and you can see for yourself.
Update 3: Snopes confirms that DHS will not be receiving 2,700 tanks and has determined this to be FALSE.
A March 2013 claim that the Department of Homeland Security had “purchased 2,700 tanks” for use in the U.S. was based on a year-old (i.e., March 2012) announcement that the DHS had engaged a contractor to install new chassis on a number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that were being returned from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan…
Update 4: Navistar Press Release.
LISLE, Ill., March 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Navistar Defense, LLC received an award to conduct the installation work associated with its January order to upgrade 2,717 International® MaxxPro® Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles with a new vehicle chassis. The $21 million contract from the U.S. Army Contracting Command is just one of Navistar’s many reset offerings aimed at revitalizing existing defense assets for future missions.