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Denied: Army Rejects General Dynamics Protest On AMPV Program; GD, BAE Respond

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


army-m113-in-vietnam-f5

The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) is the Army’s bid to replace the aging, under-armored M113, shown here in Vietnam.

On Monday, the top spokesman for General Dynamics Land Systems, Peter Keating, told me GDLS could not compete for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (APMV) program unless the Army changed how it ran the competition. Today, as even Keating expected, the Army officially denied the GDLS protest. Breaking Defense obtained a copy of the decision just an hour ago. We’ve already received statements from Army Materiel Command, General Dynamics and its rival BAE Systems, the odds-on favorite to win the contract. You can read all these documents below and click here to read our analysis of the AMPV program and why General Dynamics protested in the first place.

Up next: GD must decide whether to appeal to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), take the Army to court, or give up. We’ve betting they go to GAO.

Army Ruling Rejecting General Dynamics AMPV Protest

(If the embedded image above doesn’t work for you, you can also read the document here).

 

General Dynamics’ statement in response:

General Dynamics Land Systems filed a protest on February 14, 2014, with the Army Materiel Command regarding the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Request for Proposal.

We took this action because we believe the data provided by the Army is insufficient for us to effectively respond to the RFP.  While the Army did provide thousands of documents, the data is incomplete because there are multiple references to other documents which were not provided.  We made several unsuccessful attempts to receive the additional data from the Army. 

We believe the AMPV solicitation provides a competitive advantage to another company, the manufacturer of the M113 vehicles.  This company has years of Army test and performance data, and an Army acknowledged eighteen-month lead on the market.  In our view, the AMPV procurement process is not consistent with the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, requiring a “full and open competition.”

General Dynamics Land Systems asked the Army many times to have a dialogue about our concerns.  When the Army did not respond to our repeated requests, we asked for a detailed response to the concerns we had raised in the Agency protest. 

We are in the process of reviewing the Army’s decision and will determine our next step to assess how we can secure a fair opportunity to be in the running for the AMPV program.

 

Here’s what the Army had to say:

U.S. Army Materiel Command issued a decision on April 4, in response to a protest filed by General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. (GDLS), on February 14, 2014.  GDLS’s protest was lodged against the Army’s solicitation for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (“AMPV”) program.  The protest was decided under the AMC’s Bid Protest Program Procedures, an alternate dispute resolution forum, where the AMC Command Counsel, Brian E. Toland, independently reviews protests to determine if an acquisition is being conducted in accordance with law and regulation.  GDLS argued that the solicitation gives an unfair advantage to competitor BAE Systems, Inc. (“BAE”), unduly restricted competition, and failed to provide adequate information and time for preparation of proposals.  Toland found in the Army’s favor, determining that the solicitation — undertaken by the Army Contracting Command office at Warren, Michigan, for the Program Executive Office-Ground Combat Systems and the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command — provided adequate information and time for contractors to develop proposals, and that the solicitation requirements did not unfairly favor any competitor.

 

And finally, BAE’s only slightly smug response:

BAE Systems is pleased that the Army has made the decision to continue to move forward with the AMPV solicitation, a key priority for the service and our soldiers. The Army has an immediate need to replace an aging Vietnam-era vehicle and fill a critical capability gap for our armored forces. Cost savings, political expediency and business reasons do not justify putting soldiers’ lives at risk. The Army has had this solicitation in the works for two years and has adjusted requirements based on industry feedback to accommodate the broadest number of competitive offerings possible. BAE Systems looks forward to submitting a competitive and compliant AMPV bid that will fulfill an immediate need for improved survivability, force protection, mobility, reliability, and mission equipment integration. We welcome the opportunity to compete on the merits of our offering against the Army’s requirements.

What do you think?