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America's Top 10 Government Contractors

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Just 10 megacompanies account for more than 26% of all U.S. government contracts awarded annually. Who are they, and how much money are they making?

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America's Top 10 Government Contractors

  1. 1. Follow the Money: Here Are America's Top 10 Government Contractors
  2. 2. 10. BAE Systems plc Boeing P-8A Poseidon cockpit. Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Britain-based BAE Systems is the only non-U.S.-based company on the top 10 list this year. Working through its U.S. subsidiary, BAE Systems, Inc., it won $5 billion in U.S. contracts in 2014. For example, BAE built the “mission computer suite” for U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
  3. 3. 9. SAIC Inc. U.S. Naval Base Guam. Image source: U.S. Navy. IT specialist SAIC edged out BAE Systems for the No. 9 slot, winning $5.6 billion in contracts in 2014. One typical award: A $282 million contract to perform maintenance and repair work at Department of Defense and federal installations in Guam, Hawaii, and Kwajalein Atoll.
  4. 4. 8. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. Image source: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Another of Washington’s favorite IT specialists, L-3 Communications won $5.8 billion worth of work in 2014. A typical day at the office: In November 2014, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency hired L-3 to maintain its global communications infrastructure for the next five years.
  5. 5. 7. McKesson Corporation TRICARE at Naval Hospital Pensacola. Image source: U.S. Navy. Healthcare giant McKesson collected $6.2 billion from the U.S. government in 2014. A major supplier to the Pentagon’s Tricare pharmacy, McKesson is currently engaged by a multiyear, multibillion- dollar contract to supply prescription drugs to 9.5 million active-duty service members, retirees, and their dependents.
  6. 6. 6. United Technologies Corporation Built by Lockheed, powered by Pratt & Whitney: the F-35. Image source: United Technologies. Edging past McKesson into sixth place, with $6.26 billion in government sales, is United Technologies Corporation. United Technologies’ business interests range from elevators to surveillance. Some of its biggest sales to the U.S. government, however, center on its role as engine supplier to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet -- a role that won it, for example, a $592 million contract to sell F135 engines in October 2014.
  7. 7. 5. Northrop Grumman Corporation SBIRS Image source: U.S. Air Force. Best known as a supplier of military aircraft, Northrop Grumman does other work for the U.S. government as well. For example, in December 2014, it was chosen to supply the space inertial reference system for the new Space-Based Infrared System's (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellite. With $10.4 billion in government sales, Northrop accounted for 2.4% of government contracts in 2014.
  8. 8. 4. Raytheon Company Image source: Wikimedia Commons. Continuing up the ladder, we find Raytheon on the fourth rung, winning $12.6 billion in government contracts. Perhaps the best known of these -- if not for the best reasons -- was the JLENS blimp that Raytheon floated above Washington, D.C., in late 2014. This was the same blimp that broke loose to wander the East Coast last fall.
  9. 9. 3. General Dynamics Corporation General Dynamics -- tanks and… healthcare. Image source: U.S. Air Force. Another diverse “defense contractor,” General Dynamics is best known for its Abrams M1 battle tanks. But it also plays a crucial role in…healthcare. In February 2014, General Dynamics was awarded $800 million to improve “safety, timeliness, effectiveness and equitability” of healthcare for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Combined, General Dynamics’ businesses did $15.4 billion in government work in 2014.
  10. 10. 2. The Boeing Company Image source: Ken Hackman for the U.S. Air Force. With $18.3 billion worth of government contracts in 2014, Boeing was the government’s No. 2 contractor. One small but high-profile part of that business: Boeing builds Air Force One for the U.S. President.
  11. 11. 1. Lockheed Martin Corporation Orion. Image source: NASA. And the top government contractor? With $32.1 billion in government contracts, Lockheed Martin tops the list for the third year in a row. Obviously, one of Lockheed’s biggest businesses is building F-35 fighter jets for the Air Force. But Lockheed builds much more than that… Such as the Orion spacecraft, which could one day carry U.S. astronauts to Mars.
  12. 12. So why is all this important? Wouldn’t you like to get in on that? Boeing and Lockheed Martin are America’s top two government contractors, and have been so for each of the past three years. Every time the government spends one of your tax dollars on private contracting, Boeing and Lockheed Martin take (more than) a dime off the top.
  13. 13. You can! And even the stingiest of them pays its shareholders more interest than your bank pays you. Boeing pays its shareholders a 2.5% dividend yield, and Lockheed Martin pays 3%. Buy a share of Boeing (only 18 times earnings) or a share of Lockheed (19 times), and abracadabra -- your tax dollars boomerang right back to you. In fact, each one of America’s top 10 government contractors has a publicly traded stock that you can own.
  14. 14. So what are you waiting for? Tax time is just around the corner. If you want to take the sting out of paying the piper, pick up a few shares of one of these stocks. When your tax bill arrives in the mail, take comfort in the knowledge that… Your dividend check won’t be far behind. Image source: Wikimedia Commons.
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