Muscle (and mind) power

Halliburton. Lockheed Martin. Raytheon. Meet the top ten federal contractors hired to do heavy lifting for the Department of Defense on the EXPOSÉ site -- and find out what they've been up to lately.

1. Lockheed Martin Corp.
Total awards: $26,312,273,206
Awards from the Department of Defense: $20,016,273,528
What they do: An aeronautics manufacturer, Lockheed Martin’s motto is “We never forget who we’re working for.” That "who" would be the federal government -- the vast majority of Lockheed Martin’s contracts are with government agencies, particularly the Department of Defense. Last year, Lockheed Martin won a $3.9 billion contract to design the crew vehicle for the next NASA spacecraft, known as the “Orion.” The company’s Hellfire missile was widely used in Iraq.

2. Boeing Co.
Total awards: $21,347,810,866
Awards from the Department of Defense: $18,890,249,207
What they do: The leading international supplier of commercial aircraft, Boeing found itself in hot water two years ago for allegedly engaging in industrial espionage against its rivals to earn government contracts, but the company remains a major recipient of federal aerospace contracts. The company has codenamed future designs after Muppet characters, so someday you may find yourself flying on the “Kermit Cruiser.”

3. Northrop Grumman Corp.
Total awards: $15,632,683,034
Awards from the Department of Defense: $13,742,026,915
What they do: The second leading contractor for the U.S. Navy behind Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman mainly designs and manufactures aircrafts and parts. The company is also a major supplier of IT services. After the 2001 acquisition of Newport News Shipbuilders, Northrop now holds the contract to construct all nuclear aircraft carriers and is one of only two manufacturers of nuclear submarines.

4. General Dynamics Corp.
Total awards: $11,527,395,499
Awards from the Department of Defense: $11,182,583,664
What they do: A major player in the private jet industry with its Gulfstream line, General Dynamics also is a major supplier of combat vehicles, guns and ammunition, and nuclear submarines. This July, General Dynamics was awarded a lucrative contract to create the Army’s "Command Post of the Future," a state-of-the-art communications systems that will allow commanders on the ground in Iraq to share information with each other in real time. In addition to its military contracts, General Dynamics has also diversified to accommodate other pressing government priorities—in April, the company landed a $24 million dollar contract with a potential value of $227 million to provide information systems to Citizen and Immigration Services.

5. Raytheon Co.
Total awards: $9,953,128,166
Awards from the Department of Defense: $9,444,816,263
What they do: A leading producer or radar and sensor equipment, Raytheon recently won the contract to produce the next wave of Rolling Airframe Missiles for the Navy. In 2006, Raytheon CEO William Swanson admitted under media scrutiny that he had lifted much of the text of his book,“Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management,” from a 1944 book by a UCLA professor.

6. Halliburton Co.
Total awards: $ 6,099,064,859
Awards from the Department of Defense: $5,956,162,998
What they do: The most well-known of the “body shops,” corporations which provide manpower to complete projects that are beyond the capability of government agencies, Halliburton has been a major recipient of contracts involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. “The eastern hemisphere” has been so central to the company’s business that it announced plans earlier this year to relocate its headquarters from Houston to Dubai. Vice president Dick Cheney was at the helm during the late-1990s, eliciting allegations of a conflict of interest every time the federal government grants Halliburton a contract.

7. L-3 Communications Holdings
Total awards: $ 5,341,120,624
Awards from the Department of Defense: $4,849,615,503
What they do: L-3 emerged from six units discarded during the 1997 merger of Lockheed and Martin Marrieta and has quickly grown to become a major producer of surveillance and reconnaissance machinery as well as intelligence help, including linguists and technology training for government agencies. L-3 recently teamed up with Boeing and Alenia North America to edge out Raytheon’s bid for a $2 billion military cargo plane contract. The name refers to the company’s trio of founders, Frank Lanza, Robert LaPenta, and Lehman Brothers.

8. United Technologies Corp.
Total awards: $ 5,106,722,268
Awards from the Department of Defense: $4,958,962,192
What they do: In addition to aerospace technology, United also produces commercial heating and air conditioning systems. Its Sikorsky division manufactures the famed Black Hawk military helicopters.

9. SAIC
Total awards: $ 4,779,067,074
Awards from the Department of Defense: $2,788,583,917
What they do: Science Applications International Corp., as the company is formally known, is another “body shop,” lending intelligence to government agencies. In their article for Vanity Fair, the subject of this week’s EXPOSÉ episode, investigative reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele delve into the intricate connections between SAIC and government agencies.

10. Bechtel Inc.
Total awards: $ 4,639,268,807
Awards from the Department of Defense: $1,556,699,544
What they do: Another major contractor involved in the reconstruction of Iraq, Bechtel has been a big player in engineering circles since the construction of the Hoover Dam. But Boston residents rue the fact that even Bechtel’s expertise hasn’t sped the Big Dig boondoggle -- a construction project that involved rerouting Interstate 93 underneath downtown Boston. The project skyrocketed to a total cost of $14.6 billion (up from a $2.6 billion initial estimate) and took 20 years to complete.

[Source: Amounts and rankings from “Top 200 Contractors.” Government Executive August 15, 2006.]

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