DynCorp's run of protests may not be what you think

DynCorp has five active protests ongoing which may be unusually high, but they say something important about the company.

It catches one's eye when scanning the daily docket of bid protests on the Government Accountability Office website and seeing five open protests from one company.

When that company is DynCorp International, which earlier this year lost its final bid protest of one of its largest contracts, your instinct is to ask what’s going on.

Is this a desperate strategy to hang onto anything you can to make up for the lost contract? Has the company gone protest mad and is just challenging everything they can?

The truth is much simpler and much less dramatic.

The protests do not point to any extra attempt by the company to hold onto business, a DynCorp spokesman said. DynCorp is following its philosophy of pushing back on procurement decisions that it feels went against the company unfairly.

In one case, the $1.3 billion Customs and Border Protection's National Aviation Maintenance and Logistics Support contract was first won by DynCorp in May 2019. But the incumbent PAE and another bidder in Vertex Aerospace filed protests. Among its claims, PAE argued that DynCorp’s price was too low to meet DHS’ requirements.

CBP took a corrective action that allowed the bidders to resubmit bids. DynCorp in turn protested the corrective action that was denied by GAO.

DynCorp argued that DHS was allowing the bidders to make “unrestricted proposal revisions,” according the GAO decision.

The decision is a real head-scratcher in that DynCorp’s competitors know the former's pricing strategy thanks to the debriefings. But GAO said the disclosure was a proper part of the debrief. At the same time, DynCorp wasn’t allowed to learn the pricing strategies of its competitors before resubmitting its new proposal.

In arguing for the corrective action, PAE said it wanted to submit new pricing because the delays and other changes to the solicitation would allow it to bid a lower price, according to the GAO decision.

In May, CBP awarded the contract to PAE. That led to the current open DynCorp protest at GAO. A decision is due Sept. 30.

The DynCorp spokesman said three other protests involve contracts where they submitted a proposal at the same time it protested terms of the solicitation.

DynCorp certainly suffered a significant loss when it wasn’t picked for one of the Army’s LOGCAP V awards in April 2019. The company then lost its protest at GAO and then the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

But the company has already made up for the lost revenue when it secured a pair of Army aviation support contracts worth a combined $3.5 billion, the spokesman said.

Those contracts are more emblematic of where the company wants to go, he said. DynCorp is focusing on more work that is long term and based in the U.S., instead of tying its growth on overseas contingency contracts.

Much of DynCorp’s LOGCAP IV work was in Afghanistan and that is expected to decrease in the coming years, the spokesman said.

So the bunching up of five open bid protests have more to do with timing and coincidence than anything else. There also was a sixth protest involving work at Fort Bliss in Texas, but GAO denied the DynCorp protest.

Besides the CBP aviation contract, the other protests involve contracts and task orders with the Army and the Navy. They should all be resolved in the coming months, according to the GAO docket.

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