WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin is protesting the US Army’s decision to award Oshkosh a contract to build its Humvee replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), according to a company statement Tuesday.”Lockheed Martin does not take protests lightly, but we are protesting to address our concerns regarding the evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s offer,” it said, adding, “we firmly believe we offered the most capable and affordable solution for the program.”Oshkosh beat out both Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed for the $6.7 billion low rate initial production contract award to build 16,901 vehicles, but the entire contract is expected to be worth up to $30 billion.
That sound you hear is the cost of JLTV doubling, and the timeline shifting a couple years to the right.
The current contracting system provides every incentive to a contractor, particularly a large one like LMT, to protest. There is simply no downside to LMT protesting, and in effect grinding the entire process to a halt. The net effect is that the government fights the government on the government’s dime to review whether the government is buying what the government wants. And of course, there’s political pressure being brought because contractors have jobs at stake, and Representatives want to tout their jobs record in their home districts. And LMT has locations in lots and lots of congressional districts, don’t you know?
I suppose there might be some picayune aspect of the contract process that should have favored the LMT submission, but what I’m hearing is that the Oshkosh vehicle’s performance clearly outstripped both LMT and the AM General vehicle, and was far more production representative.
But let’s not let a little thing like the best interests of the Army get in the way of a theoretically perfect acquisition process.