The Air Force did not deliberately block U.S. Aerospace from delivering its aerial refueling tanker bid on time, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell.
The Air Force rejected U.S. Aerospace’s bid for arriving just after the deadline of 2 p.m. on July 9.
In protesting that rejection, U.S. Aerospace said its courier was at the appropriate base by 1:30 but got held up, perhaps deliberately, from reaching the right office in time.
“(T)he notion that any United States military personnel deliberately impeded their ability to deliver a bid, for this competition, is absolutely absurd,” Morrell said in a news conference Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010.
“Listen, the other two companies that bid on this went to great measures to ensure that their bid arrived at the prescribed time of 2 p.m. on July the 9th at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” Morrell said. He noted that EADS flew its bid in the day before the due date and also drove another copy to the base, and that Boeing delivered its bid at 9 a.m. “I don’t know the precise chronology of the arrival of this other company’s attempted bid, but the bottom line is, they didn’t make it in time. And there are very strict contracting rules that the federal government has on the books that preclude us from even considering bids that do not arrive by the prescribed time. So our hands are tied here. And, you know, I think any professional contractor understands how hard and fast these deadlines are and go to extraordinary measures in order to ensure that they are there well before those deadlines. As I said yesterday, this is a $30 to $40 billion contract. This is not a high school homework assignment, okay? These deadlines count, and any professional contractor understands that. … (T)here was ample opportunity, ample warning, for people to get bids in if they were serious about competing for this contract.”
The protest will not delay the contract, Morrell said. “We will award this contract in the fall, as we always said we would.”
— from Seattle PI – http://blog.seattlepi.com – Aug. 6, 2010