But for a variety of reasons, any penalties the U.S. foists upon Egypt's military are likely to be cosmetic at best—and in the end, may prove entirely meaningless anyway, several Middle East-watchers told CNBC.
"The $1.3 billion that goes to the Egyptian army doesn't really go to the Egyptian army. It goes to an account that stays in the U.S. for the Egyptian army to buy U.S. hardware," said Farouk El-Baz, an Egypt-born scientist and administrator at Boston University who was an adviser to the late President Anwar Sadat.
Egypt is "totally dependent on U.S.-made military hardware," El-Baz said, and has been since 1979, when what amounts to a U.S. monopoly on arms sales to Egypt was written into the Camp David Accords. Prior to that agreement establishing peace with Israel, Egypt's military had been a Soviet client.
"The aid is recycled within the U.S.," said Mohammed Akacem, a professor of economics at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Taxpayers give the money to the IRS, which disburses it to the Pentagon, which spends it with U.S. defense contractors.
The Egyptians then take the arms, which over the years have included the F-16 multirole fighter from Lockheed Martin and the M1A1 Abrams tank from General Dynamics.
"It's what we used to call 'tied aid' back in the '70s and '80s," said Akacem, referring to an aid agreement that stipulates that the recipient country must spend its aid money within the donating country.
General Dynamics declined to comment on the aid agreement. A company spokesman confirmed that General Dynamics is under contract to provide "tank kits" to Egypt, which assembles the heavy armor vehicles within its own borders.
In a statement, Lockheed said: "At this time, we do not have any details to offer. It's inappropriate for us to speculate on any potential contract changes."
At least seven other publicly traded U.S. companies have been awarded defense contracts with Egypt since 2009, according to documents from Defense Department, though it's possible that some of those agreements have been put on hold since the beginning of the Arab Spring.