The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has sustained a protest by Maryland-based Vertex Aerospace, LLC of a nearly $302 million U.S. Air Force contract award to Texas-based DynCorp International LLC last July 28 for maintenance of the service’s T-1A Jayhawk, T-6A Texan II and T-38C Talon planes at Vance AFB, Okla., under the Aircraft Maintenance Enterprise Solution (ACES) program.

The ACES contract could be worth $14 billion over 10 years.

In November 2020, the Germantown, Md.-based Amentum Services bought DynCorp. In the GAO ruling, the agency said that the Air Force had not considered the impact that the Amentum acquisition of DynCorp. would have on the company’s ability to execute the ACES contract despite being informed by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) of the Amentum buy of DynCorp. and a novation agreement between Amentum and DynCorp. on May 17 last year.

The newly released ruling by GAO General Counsel, Edda Emmanuelli Perez, says that “upon receipt of DCMA’s May 17 notification of the approved novation agreement, the contracting officer possessed information that should have raised questions about what effect, if any, the transaction would have on DynCorp’s ability to perform the proposal it submitted on Feb. 4.”

“As we have stated, consistent with our decisions in this area, when an agency becomes aware of an impending transaction prior to award–either through information in an offeror’s proposal or through other information resources–and such transaction is imminent and essentially certain (or already consummated), an agency should analyze the effect on proposals of the corporate transaction at issue,” per the GAO ruling.

The Air Force “does not contend that it was not required to consider the corporate restructuring that resulted from the transaction,” GAO said. “Rather, the contracting officer states that, after receiving the May correspondence from DCMA, the Air Force considered the impact the stock purchase and novation could have on DynCorp’s proposed effort, and determined that there would be no material effect.”

“The record, however, does not contain any contemporaneous documentation that the agency meaningfully and reasonably considered the effect this corporate transaction could have on DynCorp’s ability to perform,” GAO said in its ruling.

GAO advises the Air Force to analyze the possible effect of Amentum’s buy of DynCorp on execution of the ACES contract.

“We further recommend that, upon completion of this analysis, the agency make a new source selection decision,” GAO said. “If, after performing the reevaluation, the agency determines that a firm other than DynCorp represents the best value to the government, we further recommend that the agency terminate the task order awarded for the convenience of the government and make award to the firm selected, if otherwise proper.”