WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office has denied Oshkosh Defense’s protest over the U.S. Army’s decision to award AM General a nearly $9 billion contract to build Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, Defense News has learned.
“We are disappointed with the decision,” Oshkosh said in a statement sent to Defense News, “and strongly believe our proposal was the lowest risk, best value solution for the young men and women serving our nation.”
Oshkosh said it will review the GAO’s findings and assess next steps.
AM General upset JLTV maker Oshkosh in the Army’s new competition to build more of the vehicles, winning an $8.66 billion contract. Oshkosh won the original 2015 competition to build the JLTV, beating out AM General and Lockheed Martin.
Oshkosh filed a protest with the GAO on March 6 after the award was settled with the government. Tim Bleck, president of Oshkosh, said at the time that the company had “significant concerns about the evaluation of proposals under the solicitation that support an independent review. We believe the government’s assessment did not properly consider the economic, technical and manufacturing capabilities offered to select the best value and lowest risk solution for the delivery of the JLTV.”
As of 2020, private equity firm KPS Capital Partners owns AM General. The subsidiary is now building infrastructure at its 96-acre Mishawaka Manufacturing Campus in Indiana.
Oshkosh has built nearly 19,000 JLTVs to date, supplying them to the US Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy as well as military forces in Montenegro, Brazil, Slovenia and Lithuania. The company has signed a contract to build more than 22,679 vehicles and expects additional orders through November.
According to a redacted copy of the complaint obtained by Defense News, Oshkosh claims the military took “egregious risks” in choosing AM General, noting that the company has “zero experience building the JLTV” and “by its own admission, it has to set up its own facilities before production begins.”
Oshkosh said in the protest that the Army did not properly review AM General’s financial ability.
The company is preparing to shut down the JLTV production line by the end of 2024.
“As we move forward, we will continue to focus our mission to provide the highest quality vehicles and technologies that enable our warfighters to complete their mission and return home safely,” Oshkosh said in its June 12 statement.
AM General must begin building JLTVs by August 2024, and while the protest was still pending, the Army went ahead and awarded a $4.7 billion contract to the company on May 24.
Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners said in a recent analysis before the decision that he doubted the Army would have gone ahead with awarding a contract to AM General if the agency believed the award would be overturned.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist who covers land warfare for Defense News. He has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.
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