The Campaign Spot

Spared by the Sequester: The Pentagon’s $146 Flashlights

Today’s edition of “Spared by the Sequester . . .”

On March 8, the Defense Logistics Agency awarded a contact worth $331,000 to Giga, Inc., for flashlights.

According to a form listed with the award notice, the quantity of flashlights ordered was 2,256.

(That’s a decimal point between the “6” and the first “0,” so it’s not an order for 2.2 million flashlights.)

Spending $331,000 for 2,256 flashlights comes out to $146.71 per flashlight.

Now, maybe these are really good flashlights. Maybe they’re special flashlights, which have to be up to some sort of Department of Defense standard that ordinary civilian flashlights can’t meet.

Over on the Giga web site for GSA contracting, they list several different types of flashlight ranging from $30 each to $156 each; that top-priced version comes with an AC charger.

(Photo courtesy Mag-Lite.)

If you Google, you can find online retailers offering Maglite flashlights with AC chargers for $90 or so. Wal-Mart offers it for $89.97 online, although they’re reporting it’s out of stock at the moment. NalPak is offering it for $78, although that’s probably before shipping and handling.

UPDATE: A reader who works at the Defense Logistics Agency writes in:

DLA, and the services, are bound to procure by the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations  (DFAR)…

This is a five year contract, and the total amount of the contract is the $331,000 you mention. However, this specific contract is an indefinite quantity contract, with one base year, and four option years.  DLA has estimated that the average annual quantity is approximately 2256 per year.  And it appears that the negotiated price per unit for the first year is, $13.22.

…DLA has always complied and will always comply by the laws, regulations, etc, they are governed by. Unfortunately, our politicians seem to forget this, and start blasting away at the “waste”, when they ultimately are responsible for the rules the DoD must abide by.


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