Defense giant Lockheed Martin said it is considering filing a federal complaint based on “new information” brought to the company’s attention after the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) threw out the defense giant’s protest Tuesday concerning the $30 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle that went to Oshkosh Defense this summer.
“Recently, we were made aware of a substantial number of documents directly related to the competition that were not provided to the GAO or Lockheed Martin until very late in the protest process,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement. “We believe this newly discovered information should have been considered by the GAO before issuing a ruling on the protest, however, GAO declined to grant an extension to the 100-day deadline and could not consider the new documents.”
Lockheed filed its initial protest with GAO on Sept. 8, challenging “various aspects” of the federal agency’s evaluation and source selection process concerning the highly sought after contract awarded to Oshkosh Defense on Aug. 25. Since then, the Bethesda, Maryland-based defense giant has submitted two supplemental protests to address concerns regarding the GAO’s evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s original offer to build its version of the JLTV at the company’s industrial site in East Camden, Arkansas.
According to the GAO docket, Lockheed Martin filed a Notice of Post-Award Bid Protest with the United States Court of Federal Claims on Dec. 11. “The notice stated that Lockheed will file a protest with the Court on or about Dec. 17 and Lockheed has further stated that such protest will involve the same subject matter as the protests filed with our office,” wrote Susan Poling, GAO general counsel.
Poling further stated that the GAO would not decide a protest where the matter involved is the subject of litigation before a court of “competent jurisdiction.”
“Based on Lockheed’s submission of its Notice to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims stating its intent to file a protest with the Court involving the same subject matter as the protests pending before our Office, we are closing our files without further action,” Poling wrote in the GAO’s two-page decision dismissing Lockheed’s protest.
OSHKOSH CHEERS GAO DECISION, JUMPSTARTS JLTV PRODUCTION
While Lockheed was contemplating filing a federal lawsuit, Oshkosh officials were cheering the GAO’s decision late Tuesday evening. The Wisconsin-based defense contractor said it will begin work immediately on the next-generation armored, light vehicle that will replace the Humvee as the U.S. Army and Marine Corps’ primary everyday fighting lorry.
“We are pleased that the JLTV production contract, awarded to Oshkosh in August, is now moving forward to deliver the world’s most capable light tactical vehicle,” said retired U.S. Army Major General John Urias, executive vice president of Oshkosh Corp. and president of Oshkosh Defense. “Our JLTV is designed to safely transport soldiers and Marines as they perform their missions ‘outside the wire’ – providing unprecedented off-road speed and mobility on future battlefields that could be virtually anywhere in the world.”
According to Oshkosh officials, the U.S. Army lifted the stop work order and instructed Oshkosh to resume performance of the JLTV contract after the GAO dismissed Lockheed Martin’s protest earlier after the nation’s largest defense contractor said it intends to file a protest in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
“The Army conducted a thorough, methodical procurement including exhaustive testing and evaluation to ensure our troops get the best vehicle,” said Urias. “The Oshkosh team and our employees will immediately resume work to deliver JLTVs to our soldiers and Marines.”
The first phase of the Pentagon’s JLTV award hands out $6.7 billion to Oshkosh’s production team in the Wisconsin city of the same name to manufacture 17,000 of the armored vehicles that follow in the line of the original Jeep and popular, but bulky Humvee.
Over the 25-year life of the JLTV program, the Department of Defense has estimated the U.S. military will need up to 55,000 JLTVs as Army and Marine combat soldiers adapt to roadside bombs, IEDs and other modern warfare fighting tactics in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war against ISIS.
Besides a possible lawsuit over the JLTV award, Lockheed Martin and partner Boeing Inc. filed a formal bid protest with the GAO in early November over the $100 million Air Force contract to build the nation’s long-range strike bomber.
In that award, which went to Northrop Grumman on Nov. 27, Lockheed Martin said the Air Force’s selection process was “fundamentally flawed.” A decision on that protest is expected by Feb. 16, 2016, GAO officials said.