The federal government awarded $537 billion in contracts to more than 300,000 entities last year. However, as AllGov recently reported, about 25 percent of that amount went to just 10 companies–-Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, United Technologies, L-3 Communications, Oshkosh Corporation, SAIC, and BAE Systems-–the top 10 federal contractors in FY2010. The fact that these companies are primarily defense contractors isn’t surprising given that the Department of Defense typically accounts for two-thirds to three-quarters of all contract spending each year.
The top tier of federal contractors has remained remarkably consistent for the last decade. Lockheed has long been number one, billions of dollars ahead of perennial runner-up Boeing, which is closely followed by Northrop, General Dynamics, and Raytheon. The rest of the top ten is rounded out every year by United Technologies, L-3, SAIC, BAE Systems, and KBR. The Wisconsin-based truck manufacturer Oshkosh Corporation is a relatively new member of the contracting elite, having been catapulted into top ten a couple years ago as the result of scoring some very lucrative deals to build vehicles for the military.
Lockheed alone accounted for six percent of the FY2010 total. In fact, the top 100 contractors will, in any given year, account for about half of all federal contract spending. Looking at this another way, 50 percent of the contracts go to just .03 percent the contractors.
POGO's advice to deficit hawks looking for ways to cut government waste: Forget about pulling the plug on a website dedicated to the endangered Desert Tortoise: open up the federal contracting money vault, and take it from the top! For that matter, don't be stingy about clawing back some of that money from the other 299,000 or so other contractors.
Explore the misconduct profiles of the top ten federal contractors in POGO's Federal Contractor Misconduct Database: