FSS Contract Challenged…

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In-House FAA Team Wants Competition Reopened

The FAA's decision to contract out the Flight Service Station system is being challenged -- from within the FAA. James H. Washington, the Agency Tender Official for the FAA's Air Traffic Organization, claims the FAA's own proposal to modernize and economize the FSS system wasn't given a fair shake in deliberations that ultimately led to Lockheed Martin's winning what is said to be the largest ($1.9 billion) outsourcing contract ever awarded. Washington's lawyer, Cyrus E. Phillips IV, told AVweb that to the best of his knowledge it's the first time the government bidder in an outsourcing proposal has challenged the outcome. In the protest, filed last Friday with the FAA's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition (ODRA), Washington claims the decision to award the contract to Lockheed Martin was rushed, with the financial analysis incomplete and the government bid not considered in the correct context. Under the private-public competitive outsourcing process, the government agency providing the service is allowed to submit a bid to retain control of the function being considered for outsourcing. In this case, the FAA's flight services department teamed up with the Harris Corp. to compete for the contract with four private companies, including Lockheed Martin.