Independence Day celebrations such as the annual public fireworks display at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey have been canceled due to sequestration-related cuts.

But somehow the federal government has found millions of dollars to buy yarn for prisoners.

The renowned Blue Angels of the U.S. Navy likewise must cancel shows throughout 2013 due to sequestration, the automatic budget cuts designed by President Obama. Critics have charged that the president is ordering budget cuts in the way that most dramatically hurts the public, such as closing the White House to public tours.

Surviving the budget ax, however, are U.S. penitentiary landscape-design classes, technical assistance to “increase climate resilience” in Mozambique and a planned survey of Indonesian mobile phone users, according to procurement documents WND located in routine database research.

The Department of Homeland Security’s seven-year, $22 billion information technology project, known as Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions II, or EAGLE II, also is proceeding unimpeded.

DHS recently awarded 15 additional contracts, largely to Beltway-area vendors. The companies stand to gain an unspecified level of contracts to provide a vaguely defined “full range of business and technical management services in support of DHS offices or programs.”

Some federal entities, indeed, have demonstrated discernment in the budgetary decision-making process. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, for example, canceled its procurement of nearly three tons of cake mix.

The following list of federal procurement actions offers an additional snapshot of recent contracts, requests for proposals and other solicitations, both large and small. The nation-by-nation compilation is not a comprehensive list, but instead is designed to enlighten U.S. taxpayers about how the federal government is spending – or intends to spend – their money.


A $514,000 grant from the U.S. Trade & Development Agency will cover travel and hotel accommodations for an information and communications-technologies industry trip to Chile, where that sector will rely on taxpayer support to assess potential business opportunities.

USTDA is providing the “technical assistance” to the Chilean Undersecretariat of Telecommunications, which plans to build a National Emergency Network. The grant will cover Phase One of the project, which entails the hiring of a U.S. contractor to conduct a project needs-assessment and to craft medium and long-term plans for the Chilean government.

USTDA separately will provide a $610,000 grant to the Chilean company Empresa Eólica Tablaruca S.A., to carry out a feasibility study of a planned wind farm on the island of Chiloé.


USTDA is funding a feasibility study at the request of Ghana Grid Company Limited, or GRIDCO, which tentatively plans to build a power transmission line between the municipalities of Aboadze, Domunli and Prestea. The agency on behalf of GRIDCO will pay a U.S. vendor $655,000 to perform the study.


The Broadcasting Board of Governors wants to survey mobile phone users across Indonesia to improve its reach via Voice of America radio, television and social media services.

The board says it wants to tap into additional markets, leveraging extensive VOA programming that already reaches Indonesians through hundreds of radio station affiliates, TV programs in dozens of regional and national stations, and hundreds of thousands of followers via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Currently BBG is conducting a request for information from providers capable of conducting the mobile phone survey. A request for quotations has not yet been issued.


The U.S. Agency for International Development intends to spend about $15 million to strengthen the ability of Mozambique governmental and private institutions to “deal with current and future weather-related impacts as a result of climate change.”

The agency’s Coastal City Adaptation Project endeavor will hire a contractor to train the institutions to “incorporate climate change projections into their planning processes and to undertake adaptive measures.”


The U.S. State Department is buying 100 chaise lounges, 60 outdoor dining sets and 60 outdoor seating sets for the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. State issued a request for quotations but did not disclose an estimated cost.


The Rocky Mountain Region Law Enforcement and Investigation Officers unit of the U.S. Forest Service is purchasing about 100,000 rounds of service and training ammunition.

The acquisition includes 12 gauge 00 buckshot (2,500 rounds), 12 gauge slugs (2,500 rounds), S&W .40 (30,000 rounds ), 9mm. Luger( 4,000 rounds), .45 (2,000 .rounds), .380 (5,000 rounds), .223 (37,500 rounds), 22 long rifle (10,000 rounds) and 600 rounds of 45-70 Govt. 405 grain jacket flat nose/bear load.

Federal Prison Industries/UNICOR, a BOP component, awarded a $2.4 million contract to the Hickory, N.C.-based Shuford Yarns for 1.7 million pounds of yarn.

UNICOR provides job training to federal inmates, while its Clothing and Textiles Business Group sells textile products to support prisoner-related activities.

BOP separately is looking for a provider of landscape design and irrigation instruction for incarcerated students at the U.S. Penitentiary, Atwater, Calif. The selected occupational- training program provider weekly will offer 25 one-hour sessions to prisoners. BOP did not provide an estimated program cost.

BOP canceled, however, a national system-wide solicitation for 35,000 pounds of cake mix as well as a separate procurement of 3,000 pounds of garlic, 3,000 pounds of ground black pepper and 100 pounds of oregano.


USTDA will hire a contractor to perform an international “desk study” of potential opportunities for U.S. power transmission, distribution and smart-grid technology providers.

Although the procurement document did not provide an estimated cost for the initiative, it noted that USTDA, at its discretion, will consider budgeting $20,000 for contractor travel “to conduct in-region meetings and assessments of the project(s) under review.”

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