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More than 30 years after the $7,600 coffee pot and the $436 hammer, weapon spare parts overcharges remain the clearest example of how the Department of Defense (DoD) wastes billions in taxpayer dollars. Numerous audits by the DoD Inspector General (IG) have unearthed Boeing overcharging up to 177,000 percent for spare parts, Sikorsky charging $2,393 for a $181 Black Hawk part, Hamilton Sundstrand increasing part prices by as much as 900 percent, and other examples of outrageous overcharges. But understanding the scope of the problem becomes harder when the Pentagon’s independent watchdog redacts the true scale of the overcharges, and preventing it is impossible as long as the DoD is forced to use an ill-defined definition of commercial items.
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