A U.S. watchdog Monday supported a protest from Jeff Bezos’ space firm that challenged the Pentagon’s military space launch procurement strategy, exhibiting support for one of the Amazon billionaire’s conflicts with major company procurement programs.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) sustained a part of a bid protest from Blue Origin that argued the Air Force’s decision to select just two of four competing rocket firms to launch the nation’s subsequent line of defense satellites for the next five years is “flawed”.
Bezos’ Amazon also challenged the Pentagon’s recent resolution to award a $10 billion cloud-computing deal to Microsoft, claiming politics spoiled a fair contracting procedure.
Blue Origin, incorporated by Bezos in 2000, filed its protest in August, claiming the Air Pressure program “comprises quite a lot of flaws preventing dealers from intelligently preparing their bids” and “squashes nascent competition by locking out non-selected suppliers for more than five years.”
The total contract value for this system, called Launch Services Procurement (LSP) Phase 2, is unknown however is anticipated to be valued at billions of dollars, assigning the Pentagon’s subsequent 34 defense satellites launches from 2022 to 2027 to two firms.
The GAO stated Monday the Air Force program’s “basis for the award is inconsistent with applicable procurement legislation and regulation” and recommended the company change the rules of its selection.
If the Air Force objects the GAO’s recommendation, it will be the first time a company did so since 2015, preparing the stage for the U.S. Congress to meddle. Of the nearly 2,000 protest statements from the GAO since 2015, only one company formally refused to implement GAO’s recommendations.