The Pentagon earmarked funds from a $ 1 billion assigned to combat the pandemic to defense contractors who used the funds for the construction of aircraft, ships, bulletproof vests and uniforms, reported this Tuesday the newspaper The Washington Post.
The funds were part of the so-called “Care Act” that enabled the money to acquire or manufacture protective material and to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Funds from the Pentagon, America’s largest public employer, were intended to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus,” but the Department of Defense, led by Mark Esper, began dedicating those funds to deficiencies that he considered he had in war material, almost immediately.
According to the data and testimonies reviewed by the newspaper, the Pentagon awarded defense contractors hundreds of millions of dollars for projects that had little or nothing to do with the fight against the pandemic, since the legal teams of the Department of Defense determined that it was possible.
About $ 183 million was awarded to the manufacturer of aircraft engines Rolls Royce and ArcelorMittal, indispensable to maintain the naval industry military and its shipyards.
Tens of millions of dollars went to satellites, drones, or space surveillance technology; 80 million were awarded to a aeronautical company from Kansas that was in trouble over the failure of the Boeing 737 Max and lack of demand for air travel.
Likewise, 75 million dollars were allocated to subsidiaries of General Electric and expenditures were approved for relatively small items, such as $ 2 million that went to screen for uniforms.
Democratic lawmakers have called open an investigation on expenses that they consider “unacceptable”.
Information about the use of the funds, which is small compared to the pharaonic US defense budget of more than 686,000 million dollars, is known in the middle of the shortage of N95 masks among healthcare workers and requests for help from some states to distribute a possible vaccine.