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Defense Contractor Spends Millions Lobbying, Wins $343 Million Contract

The economy remains shaky at best, but you'd never know it by the amounts of money still traveling back and forth between defense contractors and the federal government. Yes, that beat goes on.

Case in point: military contractor Science Applications International Corp., (SAIC), which is based in McLean, Va., but has a major presence in San Diego. The company announced this past week that it will receive up to $343.7 million from the Defense Department to create technology that will enable the military to better model and simulate space and missile defense systems. That's a whopper of a contract.

But what wasn't so widely reported is how much the contractor has spent lobbying Washington. SAIC spent more than $1.3 million in the first two quarters of 2010 alone trying to influence the federal government, according to a recent disclosure report. The company spent $610,000 in the second quarter of this year - actually down from the $860,000 the company spent during the same quarter a year ago on lobbying work - and $710,000 in the first quarter of 2010, according to Business Week.

The lobbying efforts evidently paid off with this huge multi-million dollar contract, which will reportedly upgrade the U.S. Army's warfighter modeling, simulation, analysis, and integration support program, which is used in such areas as intelligence gathering, target sensing and command-and-control. The work is being done on behalf of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command, which is located in Huntsville, Ala.

SAIC provides a broad set of technology for the military, mainly in the area of network equipment, security and maintenance. The company lobbies Congress and the DoD extensively on a variety of bills, most of them to do with military and intelligence spending, according to the report filed July 20 with the House clerk's office.