(PHOTO Pentagon scamscateers claim Russian Mi 17 helicopters, pictured here, are more reliable.)
(August 31, 2011) For two years, the United States regarded Rosoboronexport, Russia's official weapons exporter, as an international pariah for selling arms to Iran and Syria.
Then, in 2010, the U.S. suddenly lifted sanctions against it. By June of this year, the reversal was complete: the Pentagon awarded the company a no-bid contract worth upwards of $1 billion.
How exactly did the United States end up spending taxpayer dollars on Russian equipment with no competition?
The Russian deal may be a small part of the nearly $140 billion in no-bid contracts the Pentagon awarded last year, but it is also in some ways typical, according to an ongoing series by the Center for Public Integrity.
If military operations in the early years of Iraq and Afghanistan justified the use of sole-sourcing contracting for support services, then the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan created a new justification for steering contracts to a single bidder: the need to quickly equip the military forces there so that the United States could eventually ship out.