The Federal Protective Service a child agency of the behemoth Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is tasked with protecting property owned, occupied or secured by the federal government, seems to be getting ready for a riot or riots in the very near future.
This is the same Federal Protective Service which reportedly “drafted plans to send armed agents into downtown Chicago to patrol the city and prepare for protests” during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit earlier this year.
This quite sizeable procurement of 150 sets of riot gear is especially noteworthy since it is being filled on a highly accelerated timetable.
The solicitation was posted on July 25, 2012 with a response date of July 26, 2012 and delivery a mere 15 days later.
The items required are: 147 “Upper Body and Shoulder Protection” which are brand name or equal to “Centurion Soft Shell Riot Control System (CPX2500),” along with 152 “Thigh-Groin Protector” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion TPX200,” 156 “Forearm Protectors” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion (FP100),” and 147 units of “Hard Shell Shin Guards” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion (TS70),” 147 carry bags brand name or equivalent to Exotech (E4), 147 tactical gloves brand name or equivalent to “Damascus (DMZ333),” and 147 riot helmets brand name or equivalent to “MaxPro (TR1000).”
This considerable procurement is for “the 2012 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the 2012 Presidential Inauguration and other future similar activities,” according to the solicitation.
While that is general to the point of absurdity, the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida slated for August 27-30 seems like the likely reason.
Seeing as the other events are in the even more distant future, I see no reason to justify the abnormally narrow window of time for this solicitation to be filled.
According to projections, there will be a significant amount of protesters attending the Republican National Convention and local police have reportedly planned to close certain roads in the area in order to stifle the demonstrations.
The chief procurement officer with the DHS, on behalf of the Federal Protective Service, gave some details about the equipment they are looking for which makes it quite clear they are preparing for the worst.
The upper body and shoulder protection must “effectively protect the torso and shoulders from blunt force trauma” and “safely absorb blows delivered from blunt objects,” while the riot helmets must have an “adjustable tactical face shield with liquid seal” and be compatible with the “3M Full Face Respirator FR-M40B masks.”
The hard shell shin guards must give officers “substantial protection from flying debris, non-ballistic weapons, and blows to the leg” and have an “optimized protective design for severe riot control or tactical situations.”
Even the gloves that they are looking for are quite heavy duty, with “Kevlar on back of hands [that] is flame/flash retardant as well as cut protective” and a “rolled finger tip design for excellent trigger sensitivity and fit.”
Clearly, they have a quite violent encounter in mind here. The question is: what exactly are they planning for and why?