Lockheed's new CEO takes the reins

James Taiclet has finished the first day on the job as CEO of Lockheed Martin the 60-year-old executive certainly has big shoes to fill.

He’s following Marillyn Hewson, who took the reins in 2013 and became chairman in 2014. During that time Lockheed Martin and delivered an incredible run of success at the company. Just the share price alone has an extraordinary rise. As Loren Thompson describes in Forbes, the price went from the mid-$80 territory to the high $300 range.

In our part of the world, Hewson also led a transformation of Lockheed that saw it sell off the IT services business that the company spent the previous 20 years building through a series of acquisitions and organic growth.

At the same time, she orchestrated the acquisition of Sikorsky, adding more major defense platforms and the support services around them to Lockheed’s portfolio. Hewson put Lockheed's focus on the platform side of the market and the longer-tail of development, support and logistics that go with it.

She also cemented herself as not just a leader in aerospace and defense, but as an important business voice regardless of market.

Taiclet was publicly named her successor in March and is departure for Lockheed because unlike Hewson and previous company CEOs -- Bob Stevens, Vance Coffman and Norm Augustine -- he didn’t grow up inside Lockheed. He joined the board two years ago and keeps his director post in addition to CEO.

He’s spent the last 17 years as CEO of American Tower Corp., a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. But he has worked in the defense market as president of Honeywell’s aerospace services segment and as a VP at Pratt & Whitney.

Taiclet also was an Air Force fighter pilot during the Persian Gulf War.

Lockheed also takes succession planning very seriously. Just look at how Hewson became CEO when a scandal wrecked the plan that had been in place. The company barely hiccuped.

My guess is that when Taiclet joined the board, Lockheed had him in mind as a possible successor. What better way for a candidate to learn about the company and for the board to learn about that candidate.

Posted on Jun 16, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

OASIS on-ramp awards face new challenges

As we expected, the OASIS Small Business on-ramp process continues to hit snags due to bid protests but it looks like a larger number of challenges may not come.

So far, three companies have filed with the Government Accountability Office saying that GSA made a mistake in not including them among the on-ramp winners.

Last month, GSA named 84 companies to Pool 1, 163 for Pool 3 and 64 for Pool 4. That brought the total number of new companies joining the OASIS SB vehicle to 311.

Not making that list were Immersive Concepts, Systemic Management Services and LCGI-SSAI Joint Venture. Their protests were filed between June 1 and June 15. Decisions are due in September.

It is possible that more protests may be in the works, but the window for filing those to GAO is rapidly closing.

GSA also has to finalize the list after giving time for those who want to challenge the size status of the on-ramp winners. But that window also is closely rapidly.

More on-ramp awards are coming as well. GSA is expected to name 8(a) winners this month, then the on-ramp process begins for the unrestricted portion.

Posted on Jun 16, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

Novetta makes deal for WaveStrike, creates new division

Novetta has added new capabilities in software engineering, data analytics and technology solutions and created a new division through the acquisition of WaveStrike.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Annapolis Junction, Maryland-based WaveStrike is focused on national security customers, an area Novetta also isinvolved in.

Novetta CEO Tiffanny Gates described the deal as complementary. “The synergy between our programs positions us for larger-scale opportunities and reinforces us a top destination for technical talent,” she said.

WaveStrike leaders -- President and CEO Anne Wagner and Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mike Wagner -- will transition to Novetta and continue to lead the business as a new division of the company. WaveStrike is now the analytic capabilities division of Novetta.

"Looking at Novetta, it is what we imagined WaveStrike to be when we grew up," Wagner said.

The deal closed June 10. Baird served as the exclusive financial adviser to WaveStrike.

For the Carlyle Group-backed Novetta, this is its first deal since the November 2018 acquisition of Berico Technologies. Carlyle acquired Novetta in 2015.

Posted on Jun 15, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

NIH's CIO-SP3 onramp hits another snag

The National Institutes of Health made what it thought was its last awards in May for the on-ramp portion of the CIO-SP3 Small Business contract.

But nothing is ever really over it seems.

Several companies have filed bid protests because they were not among the 244 winners NIH picked to join the $20 billion contract for IT integration and outsourcing services.

The protesters are MicroTech, Softrams LLC, and InterImage. The protests were filed over the course of late May and early June with decisions from the Government Accountability Office expected in late August and early September. Though there is a possibility that GAO could wrap them into a single decision.

The companies are saying they should have been among the winners if the competition was conducted properly.

Good news for NIH though: the protest window has closed so it would take something extraordinary for other companies to protest at this point.

NIH still has to file its response so a corrective action isn’t out of the realm of possibilities yet. In the meantime, NIH has issued a stop-work order for the contract.

It may be easier for NIH to just add these three to the on-ramp and then let the competition for task orders sort things out going forward.

But no one takes our advice.

Posted on Jun 12, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

USAID looks for M&A deal data

As part of its mission, the U.S. Agency for International Development needs data and is looking for 20 years of it on mergers and acquisitions that cross borders.

The agency wants the data to help it make programming decisions on “country specific needs and opportunities,” according to the solicitation.

USAID says it wants to track foreign financial investments. Most of these come from official investments and direct investments. Official investments are relatively easy to track but direct investments by companies are not.

To get information of the direct-by-company variety, you have to comb through documents such as news articles, annual reports and public filings. USAID wants to buy a database that has all of that information collected and one that updates continually. Near real-time.

USAID wants to share the data across the entire agency and with country teams at U.S. embassies overseas.

Some of the information they want included in the data base include: data of the transaction, when it was announced, deal status, nationality of acquiring company, parent company of the buyer, value, industry sectors and several other elements.

Bids are due June 26.

Obviously, this isn’t a traditional sort of IT contract. But it is interesting that USAID finds so much value in that kind of information.

Posted on Jun 12, 2020 at 9:42 AM0 comments

Booz Allen continues work on delayed DOD cloud email initiative

While Perspecta and General Dynamics IT fight over the $7.6 billion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract, related opportunities continue to move forward for others.

Booz Allen Hamilton has been awarded a new three-year, $60.5 million task order to continue its support of the Defense Department's cloud email and collaboration initiative with planning and migration efforts.

While that contract has been signed off on, the DEOS program itself is kind of stuck as the General Services Administration and DISA resolve problems with the contract. GSA and DISA are taking a corrective action to try to fix problems created when Perspecta’s pricing information was disclosed to GDIT.

DISA awarded the task order to Booz Allen through the agency's Systems Engineering, Technology and Innovation vehicle known as SETI, according to a Beta.Sam notice.

The task order was awarded on a sole-source basis with no competition. According to the justification document, the Defense Department went down the no-competition route because Booz Allen is already supporting DISA on the project. The firm began supporting development of DEOS in 2017.

DISA says Booz Allen “is the only source capable of providing these unique and highly specialized services.”

These services are broadly described as program management, engineering and technical support services, and business management. DISA said Booz Allen played an “instrumental” role in development of the systems design document, integrated master schedule, risk management plan, concept of operations and the systems engineering plan.

DISA also argues that it needs Booz Allen’s intimate knowledge of DEOS and the strategy behind it because the agency expects to implement a “very aggressive schedule” once the main contract is successfully awarded, according to the justification documents.

Precise numbers of users are redacted from the document, but DISA apparently expects a significant number of users on DEOS by the end of fiscal 2021.

“Delays associated with transitioning to new vendor and the learning curve required to be fully operationally capable would impose schedule risks to meeting milestones and objectives,” DISA writes.

Booz Allen’s original task order to support DEOS was competed in 2017 under through the Alliant contract.

DOD said that when this new task order ends, it plans to compete the next support contract.

Booz Allen officials declined to comment on the task order, but the company often plays the role of adviser and program management support on larger contracts.

The biggest example is a program management role Booz Allen is playing on the Veterans Affairs Department's $10 billion roll-out of a new electronic health record provided by Cerner, the prime on that project. Booz Allen was awarded a $750 million contract in September 2017 to provide program management support.

Posted on Jun 11, 2020 at 9:42 AM0 comments

General Dynamics loses $7.7B Navy NGEN protest

General Dynamics IT has lost its protest of the $7.7 billion Navy Next Generation Enterprise Network recompete award that went to Leidos in February, according to a statement released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office.

Still pending is the protest filed by incumbent NGEN contractor Perspecta with that decision due no later than June 17.

NGEN is the Navy’s massive contract to support the networks and IT infrastructure for hundreds of thousands of users in both the Navy and Marine Corps.

In its protest, GDIT argued that the Navy conducted unfair negotiations by not giving “meaningful notice” about certain pricing assumptions in GDIT’s proposal. If those talks had been held properly, GDIT could have improved its bid and would have won the contract.

But GAO disagreed, finding the Navy acted reasonably and within the guidelines set up in both federal acquisition regulations and legislation.

GDIT still has the option to take its protest to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which has greater authority to enforce decisions in bid protests. A GDIT spokesperson said the company had no comment at this time.

GAO has not released a public version of its decision, which will likely take several weeks to come out. The published decision will provide more details on GDIT’s claims and the Navy’s response.

Meanwhile, GAO is still working on a decision due by June 17 involving Perspecta’s protest, which has more at stake for them given the incumbent status. NGEN is Perspecta's largest contract and represents 18-to-19 percent of annual revenue. 

Perpsecta’s protest also raised different objections than GDIT’s protest. Perspecta included some of GDIT’s objections to negotiations and pricing, but added an allegation of an organizational conflict-of-interest on Leidos’ part.

Perspecta apparently argued that Leidos had unequal access to information, which Perspecta says it did not have. Whatever GAO's ruling is, a public release of that decision will also likely wait several weeks to come out to find details on that.

A Perspecta spokeswoman declined to comment on GAO’s ruling against GDIT. Leidos also has not responded to a request for comment.

The NGEN-Recompete is different than the contract it replaces. This time around, the Navy split off the hardware portion of the contract and awarded that piece to HP Inc.'s federal subsidiary -- HPI Federal.

Perspecta, Leidos and GDIT competed for the NGEN Service, Management, Integration and Transport contract that is larger and more lucrative.

Perspecta continues to support HPI Federal on the hardware side and recently signed a three-year, $120 million contract with them to help with services and integration of the hardware.

But a loss of NGEN will be significant. Perspecta’s guidance for its just-started 2021 fiscal year factors in a $600 million sales impact, which would drag annual revenue below $4 billion to a range between $3.66 billion and $3.81 billion.

Posted on Jun 11, 2020 at 9:42 AM0 comments

Hitachi Vantera Federal challenges plan for SSA data storage contact

Hitachi Vantera Federal is objecting to terms of a solicitation issued by the Social Security Administration for an enterprise data storage solution.

The contract is being competed as a lowest price, technical acceptable procurement. But that isn’t what Hitachi Vantera is objecting to. They claim SSA isn’t following the rules for using LPTA, but aren’t specifically arguing that LPTA is improper for this instance.

SSA's procurement is known as the Enterprise Data Storage and Services -- Open Systems Contract. It is a successor to the contract won by Del won in 2014 and has been worth about $171.9 million. Deltek estimates that the follow-on will be worth about $130 million.

Hatachi Vantera Federal declined to comment on the protest, but in following their history this kind of work is part of their legacy of providing data solutions.

Some requirements include storage subsystems hardware and software, connectivity, de-duplication, virtualization, warranty and maintenance support and implementation.

The contract is expected to be a single award.

Hitachi Vantera Federal filed its protest on June 8. A decision is due Sept. 16.

Posted on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

ManTech takes $66M Navy comms contract

ManTech International has won a $66 million contract for variety of services that support a Navy emergency communications system.

The contract was awarded as a task order under the OAISIS and ultimately supports command, control, communications, computers and intelligence and IT systems run by the Naval Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

ManTech said it will provide research-and-development, engineering, integration and installation, test and evaluation, and training. It also will support sustainment, cybersecurity and logistics.

The Webster Outlying Field Special Communications Mission Solutions Division supports a communication solution that is used by all branches of the military as well as federal law enforcement and first responders during crisis situations, including the current coronavirus pandemic.

ManTech’s solutions -- known as Bringing Digital to the Mission -- allows users to safely and securely connect in a variety of environments. It can span multiple network systems and devices, the company said.

Posted on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

CGI fights to get back in PTO competition

CGI Federal has found itself on the outside looking in on a $2 billion competition for a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office contract.

CGI Federal and another competitor have gone to the Government Accountability Office objecting to their elimination from USPTO's Business Oriented Software Solutions vehicle. It is the follow-on to USPTO’s Systems Development & Integration -- Next Generation contract held by several companies including CGI.

The other protester is Chevy Chase, Maryland-based small business Ascendant Services LLC. Both protests were filed on June 8 and decisions from the Government Accountability Office are expected Sept. 16.

BOSS and its predecessor both cover software development and integration services for commercial products, including software, databases and other solutions. Earlier this month, USPTO named the 24 companies eligible to compete for spots on BOSS.

Incumbents on the current contract outside of CGI Federal include General Dynamics IT (through its CSRA acquisition), Maximus (through its Acentia acquisition), Science Applications International Corp., Pragmatics, Phacil and Salient CRGT. All except for Phacil and obviously CGI Federal made USPTO's initial cut.

Those companies and CGI are continuing to support USPTO through a bridge contract that expires on Sept. 29, according to Deltek.

Since 2012, CGI has pulled in over $112 million in task orders and is the fourth-most successful company on the contract. Deltek ranks SAIC first with $179 million, followed by Salient CRGT with $162.7 million and then Maximus with $126.8 million.

Technical requirements under the current contract and BOSS include program management, system and software development, architecture and design, and user experience design.

An attempt to reach CGI’s attorney for comment was unsuccessful.

Posted on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:43 AM0 comments

DOD's $7.6B cloud email buy heads for redo

The saga over the $7.6 billion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract continues to provide plenty of plot twists, but this latest one may be the toughest to resolve.

The Defense Information Systems Agency and General Services Administration worked together to develop this contract for cloud-based email and calendaring services. Sounds simple enough, but now they are likely to more significantly rework the procurement after this latest round of bid protests.

General Dynamics IT first won the contract in late August 2019, then the other competitor Perspecta filed its protest two months later after going through DOD’s enhanced debriefing process.

Perspecta's protest led DISA and GSA to take a corrective action to rework several aspects of the solicitation and here is where things took a bad turn. The companies were to update their proposals.

As part of that process, GSA sent what was supposed to be a template for GDIT and Perspecta to follow in submitting their pricing information.

But the template GDIT got included Perspecta’s labor pricing information. When Perspecta learned this, it immediately filed a pre-award protest with the Government Accountability Office in early March of this year.

Now less than a week before a final GAO ruling was due, Perspecta's latest protest has been dismissed because DISA and GSA are taking another corrective action. What exactly that will entail isn’t clear.

Given that GAO was due to publish its decision on June 15, the late notice of this second corrective action tells me that GSA and DISA knew a ruling against them was likely.

Perspecta said as much in this statement:

“Perspecta is appreciative of the decision made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with regard to our protest of the DEOS solicitation and we look forward to cooperating with the General Services Administration (GSA) in the next steps of the competitive process,” a company spokeswoman told us on Tuesday.

GDIT declined to comment on the protest.

How will GSA and DISA fix this? I'm told DISA and GSA will have to change the solicitation to a degree that will make Perspecta’s pricing disclosure immaterial. Meaning the revised requirements will be need to be different enough that the disclosure of the pricing information won’t put Perspecta at a disadvantage.

That also means both companies will have to submit new pricing proposals.

Another possible alternative mentioned to me in passing is that GDIT and Perspecta could sit down together and work out some sort of deal for both to get a piece of DEOS. In that scenario, GDIT would most likely be the prime and Perspecta would be the major sub. We haven’t seen that happen in a long time. It's probably a long shot but at least worth a mention.

Timing looms as a big question. How long will a reworked solicitation and new try at an award take? The answer I’ve been getting is “depends.” Three months would be the quickest. Six months is more likely. A full year wouldn’t be unheard of either.

It is ironic to think that when DEOS first emerged as an opportunity, DOD had narrowed the field of competitors for its more high-profile JEDI cloud infrastructure contract. Their price tags are similar, but DEOS was seen as the simpler and more straightforward procurement. Little controversy surrounded it.

Now both cloud contracts are mired in protests and both share accusations of unequal treatment and improper disclosures of pricing information. Amazon Web Services has taken its case over the JEDI contract to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims after Microsoft won it. JEDI is in the midst of a corrective action. A separate appeal filed by Oracle over its elimination also continues.

Even if GSA and DISA get DEOS re-awarded in six months, more legal challenges are likely ahead.

The saga continues.

Posted on Jun 09, 2020 at 9:42 AM0 comments

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