The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has denied Oshkosh Defense’s [OSK] protest of the Army’s award of the potential $9.7 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle follow-on contract to

AM General.

“In denying the protest, GAO concluded that the Army reasonably evaluated proposals in accordance with the [Request for Proposals’] evaluation criteria, and that any judgments made were consistent with and adequately supported by the content provided in written proposals or observed as part of site visits [conducted] during the course of the solicitation process. GAO also concluded that the Army reasonably and equally conducted discussions because the agency identified proposal aspects requiring revision, and did not engage in conduct that favored [AM General] over Oshkosh,” Edward Goldstein, an attorney for GAO, said in a statement to Defense Daily.

A Joint Light Tactical Vehicle displays its overall capabilities during a live demonstration at the School of Infantry West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Feb. 27, 2019. The JLTV consists of multiple platforms capable of completing a variety of missions while providing increased protection and mobility for personnel across the Marine Corps. (Official Marine Corps video by Sgt. Timothy R. Smithers/Released)

AM General in February beat out current JLTV manufacturer Oshkosh Defense for the 10-year JLTV re-compete production contract, which may cover delivery of up to 20,682 vehicles and up to 9,883 JLTV Trailers (Defense Daily, Feb. 9).

Oshkosh Defense said in a statement to Defense Daily it will “assess the GAO’s findings and evaluate our next steps.”

“We are disappointed with the decision, and we firmly believe our proposal was the lowest risk, best value solution for the young men and women serving our nation,” Oshkosh Defense said. “While this news is disappointing, it does not take away from the hard work we have done since receiving the initial contract in 2015. In that time, we have built a world-class team and produced over 20,000 JLTVs for the U.S. military and international allies. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on our mission to provide the highest quality vehicles and technologies that enable our warfighters to perform their missions and return home safely.”

Goldstein’s statement on GAO’s decision, first reported by Breaking Defense, said Oshkosh Defense’s protest challenged the Army’s evaluation of the technical proposals, to include AM General’s price and cost proposal.

Oshkosh Defense also argued the Army “unreasonably and unequally conducted discussions and should not have found AMG to be a ‘responsible’ contractor” and that the service “unreasonably made its best-value tradeoff determination,” according to Goldstein.

A redacted copy of Oshkosh Defense’s previously obtained by Defense Daily claimed AM General made an “unrealistic” price offer for the work and said the Army’s best value determination was “flawed” (Defense Daily, April 7).

“That’s the gist of our protest is that [the Army] didn’t properly contemplate the overall risk associated in the competition,” Tim Bleck, president of Oshkosh Defense, told Defense Daily during an interview at the Association of the United States Army’s Global Force Symposium in late March. “We believe that the Army awarded the JLTV contract to a company that will likely lose hundreds of millions of dollars and, quite frankly, probably isn’t capable of handling such losses given that the JLTV platform will represent a majority of their volume.”

Goldstein said GAO concluded “the Army did not unreasonably make its tradeoff determination because the source selection authority compared proposal features consistent with the RFP’s criteria.”

The Army in May awarded AM General a $196.9 million order covering 271 JLTVs for the Army and 206 vehicles for the Marine Corps, the first order placed for additional JLTVs since the five-year, $4.6 billion base period contract was announced in February (Defense Daily, May 25). 

While the order was placed as GAO was still considering the protest, Michael Sprang, project manager for the JLTV Joint Program Office, told Defense Daily there was no stop work order in place and an award could be made because Oshkosh Defense did not file a “timely protest” to issue a mandatory stay.

Jim Cannon, CEO of AM General, told Defense Daily in early March, before Oshkosh Defense filed its protest, that the company was “well into execution” in moving toward JLTV A2 production and is planning to build the platform in “some very non-traditional ways” (Defense Daily, March 2).

“It’s hard to sometimes win when there’s an incumbent. But I looked at it like a no-lose mission. We were either going to compete to win and win it. And we did. And, of course, we’re very humbled and fortunate for this opportunity now. Or, we would compete to win and be beaten, but the Army would get a better vehicle,” Cannon said.