Saturday, August 29, 2009


Here's a way to look at some Defense Department contracts for your local weapons contractor. Each Federal contractor (military or civilian) is assigned a bureaucratic number called a CAGE Code, which should be easy to find by an internet search. Armed (as it were) with a CAGE Code, visit DIBBS, a Defense Logistics Agency website, and search by Awardee CAGE to get a list of some (not necessarily all) of your company's recent DoD contracts. You can even look at the actual purchase orders.

Careful study may reveal which weapons system a contract's for. If an NSN is mentioned, that's the National Stock Number of the item supplied, and another DLA website called WebFLIS may tell you more about it.

For example, the CAGE Code for Woodstock's Rotron is 82877, and among the contract awards you'll find on DIBBS is one dated 7/2/2009 for 3 fans. WebFLIS's information for this model of fan reveals that it's a component of the F-16 fighter aircraft.
See also another useful website

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to find out about military contracts in your community

One place to start is It's a commercial website and we can't vouch for its reliability but it has some interesting data in the free part, which is the only part we've tried . . . Bear in mind that federal contracts are only a part of the picture, e.g. much of Woodstock's weapons components production is for subcontracts, sub-sub-contracts, private contracts and foreign sales . . . Come back often for more tips, as well as discussion of the ways the war economy reaches into each of our communities. We hope you'll contribute your own methods, findings and ideas.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Woodstock is typical!

Woodstock is a small community, and its weapons manufacturer is correspondingly small relative to giants like Lockheed Martin. It's a symbol, a microcosm, of the reach of the death mills into every community, yes, even Woodstock.

As is true of the military industry in general, much of the work of Woodstock's Ametek Rotron is not direct Pentagon contracts but subcontracts. As Todd Zimmer of Peace Economy Project says:
"This practice of subcontracting ... accounts for much of the graft and cost-overruns rampant in the industry. Boeing and Lockheed intentionally spread out political culpability for program cuts across the geographical United States in an effort to influence the maximum number of elected congressional representatives. The F-22 program involves subcontracts with over 1,000 suppliers scattered across 44 states"
... Woodstock is home to one of those thousand.

Friday, August 14, 2009

This chart shows how Woodstock's arms manufacturer sharply increased its federal military contracts during the Bush II years. Direct federal contracts are only a part -- probably a minority -- of Rotron's production, but this suggests the company chose to increase its emphasis on weapons -- and that it's just as possible now for the company to think again and start to emphasize useful products.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Local manufacturer makes razor wire for Iraq occupation

From Poughkeepsie Journal, 9/16/2007:
"In 2002, Cobra Systems of Bloomington won a Department of Defense contract to make specialized razor wire.
The contract was announced with considerable fanfare by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, who wrote letters to the Department of Defense on behalf of Cobra. It guaranteed a minimum of $5 million over the next five years, with a maximum potential payout of $50 million. The ultimate value of the contract, which ends this year, is expected to be between $8 million-$9 million.
The family-owned business operates a small office on Route 32 and has manufacturing plants in Lake Katrine and Newburgh, although the Newburgh plant opens only when there are enough orders to sustain operations there.
In 2005 and 2006, Cobra received transactions totaling more than $2.2 million for its razor wire, much of which has been used in Iraq."

Cobra continues to get military contracts for fencing: $1,119,246 worth in 2008.
Was the razor wire around Abu Ghraib made in Ulster County? Was Hinchey intentionally undermining his own stated opposition to the war on Iraq?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Woodstock makes Bradley Tank components

According to Army Guide, Ametek Rotron of Woodstock is the manufacturer of these components for weapons systems:
*Fans, connectors and motors for the Bradley M2/M3 infantry fighting vehicle and the M7 BFIST fire support vehicle pictured here. Don't let the name make you think that the M7 is some kind of fire engine. It's "a variant of the M2A2-ODS Bradley. It is used as an artillery forward observer vehicle and laser designator, providing major improvements in first-round artillery accuracy...". Used in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
*Fumes Evacuation System for the Crusader SPH XM2001 self-propelled howitzer. The Crusader was a program so useless and so costly that even Rumsfeld canceled it, in 2002.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rep. Maurice Hinchey is one of the more progressive members of Congress. And yet 6 of the top 20 contributors to his 2010 election Campaign Committee (to date) are military contractors: BAE Systems, L-3 Communications, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Link Simulation.

Woodstock's Rotron is only a local manifestation of the military-industrial complex's reach into every local economy in the US. Our society's precious resources are warped and wasted by our incessant production of harmful rather than useful things. The challenge of converting our economy to a peaceful, green one will be solved at a much broader level than the small community of Woodstock. But where better to begin?

The giants of Detroit have fallen far by adhering to an outdated, unsustainable business model. Let's encourage our local companies to avoid this fate and instead prosper by switching to sustainable products rather than harmful ones such as illustrated on this page.