Any chance they are trying to keep ammo out of private hands by purchasing everything on the market? Or is production capacity too high for that to work?
“Keeping ammo out of the hands of civilians” might be a small part of the equation, but not the full picture. We civilians already own billions and billions of rounds of stockpiled ammo.
No, the DHS thinks that they will have a reason to USE those billions of bullets.
Against whom? A handful of Major Hassans? Don’t make me laugh. This is what it’s about:
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
They want to buy it up before we do, and it also drives up the price to make everything less affordable.
I personally suspect its mostly going elsewhere. They don’t have the personnel who are trained or even capable of using it.
“Any chance they are trying to keep ammo out of private hands by purchasing everything on the market? Or is production capacity too high for that to work?”
Possibly. Manufacturing cannot meet that demand.
A few years ago, 5.56 NATO ammo was getting tough to find because of the ramped-up military demand. Thus, these procurements are spread out over a 12-month base term contract, plus four 12-month option periods. So the first year's purchase is one-fifth of the total being discussed. Monthly deliveries, in the case of one of the DHS .40 caliber pistol ammo purchases, begins in June of 2013. That may be a bit late for Obama's private army to make use of it (I guess we'll see in November).
The four option periods are not yet funded, IIRC. Bottom line - for the coming year, the ammo purchases are just a fraction of the total numbers mentioned. Not that we should drop our guard, or anything... just trying to paint a more complete picture.