FSS Outsourcing A Lesson To Business

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If Lockheed Martin's experience is typical, don't expect private companies to be lining up in droves to take over any future government aviation work through the so-called A-76 outsourcing process. More than a year after winning the $1.9 billion contract to run the flight service station system, company spokesman Joe Cipriano said it's only recently cleared the bureaucratic, legislative and labor-relations hurdles that have dogged implementation of its administration of the system. "It was somewhat disappointing to have all the protests filed after the award," Cipriano told Washington Technology. "But it should not be unexpected, since this was the largest A-76 ever awarded by the government. It was a milestone." Immediately after the award, the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, which had also bid on the job in conjunction with Harris Corp., filed a protest. The protest didn't get anywhere bureaucratically but it did catch the ear of Congress, which briefly withheld $150 million in transition funding. It's not just the rocky reception that can greet private companies that is discouraging them from bidding. Only 9 percent of A-76 bids are awarded to private firms. The rest revert to the existing agency carrying out the work based on their bid to protect their jobs. The in-house bidder is called the Most Efficient Organization.