PAE clears $1.4B recompete hurdle, for now

PAE scored a victory of sorts last summer when it gained at least another shot at keeping its $1 billion aircraft maintenance contract with the Customs and Border Protection agency.

Those efforts look to have paid off as CBP has awarded the recompete contract to PAE at a $1.26 billion ceiling value over one base year and nine individual option years.

“We look forward to continuing our support to this critical national security customer as we apply our innovative solutions supporting the CBP mission and fleet of over 200 aircraft,” PAE CEO John Heller said in a release Tuesday.

This is one of PAE's largest wins since it became a publicly-traded company in February. CBP awarded the National Aviation Maintenance and Logistics Support contract on Friday and received six total bids, according to Federal Procurement Data System information.

Not all competitors have likely received post-award debriefs given the short timeframe so far, but this contract has already been the subject of several protests from PAE and others after CBP first tried to make an award in May 2019.

At that time, CBP chose DynCorp International for the contract that had a $1.43 billion ceiling value over up to 10 years. That round of proposals saw seven bids get to CBP and meant DynCorp could tout a takeaway win over a direct competitor.

Two protests followed in June by both PAE and another disappointed bidder in Vertex Aerospace, then CBP vacated the award to DynCorp for a corrective action. The Government Accountability Office dismissed the protests after CBP notified of the plan to re-evaluate bids.

PAE and Vertex Aerospace returned to GAO in August with protests over how CBP was handling the corrective action, specifically in how the agency would re-evaluate previously submitted proposals. That preceded by an agency-level protest from PAE seeking clarification over that process and one that CBP denied.

CBP then decided to take another corrective action and GAO dismissed the second round of protests. This time around, CBP said it would amend the solicitation and accept revised proposals from all bidders.

One month later, it was DynCorp’s turn to go to GAO as outlined in this December protest decision, short and sweet at five pages.

DynCorp pushed back against CBP not disclosing cost and technical ratings of bidders from the initial evaluations and the decision to permit unlimited proposals. GAO said CBP acted reasonably and denied that protest.

PAE’s incumbency on the program can be traced to 2009 when it was first awarded to Defense Support Services LLC, founded in 2004 as a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Day & Zimmerman.

DS2 was then acquired by PAE in late 2011 after the latter was itself divested by then-parent Lockheed, which purchased PAE six years prior.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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