How police militarization became an over $5 billion business coveted by the defense industry

Many of this militarized equipment is transferred through two federal programs: the 1033 and the 1122 initiatives. The 1122 program allows the police to purchase new military equipment using their own funding with the same discounts enjoyed by the federal government. The 1033 program allows the Department of Defense to transfer excess military equipment to local law enforcement agencies free of charge, as long as they pay for shipping and maintenance.

Since its inception, more than 11,500 domestic law enforcement agencies have taken part in the 1033 program, receiving more than $7.4 billion in military equipment. After the Ferguson protests, several attempts were made to amend the 1033 program but were either met with opposition or rescinded in later years.