ManTech prevails in protest of $4B classified Air Force contract

ManTech was one of three winners of a $4.4 billion classified Air Force security contract, but protested anyway and won its argument.

ManTech International has prevailed in a protest of a highly-classified security contract with the Air Force worth at least $4 billion.

Details are sketchy with ManTech and the Government Accountability Office declining to comment given the nature of the contract. But there are some apparent twists and turns involving the Air Force Special Access Program Security Support Services program known as SAP SSS.

Twist number one: ManTech was actually one of three companies selected in February for the $4.5 billion contract alongside General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman. The Air Force will use the contract to implement security protocols, conduct information security operations, counterintelligence training, analysis and investigations. Awardees will also compete for task orders for logistics and communications security support.

The three companies were the only three bidders.

But there had to be something in the award that bothered ManTech sufficiently enough to protest. Deltek lists ManTech as the incumbent on a predecessor contract. That was a single award, though much smaller. Perhaps ManTech didn’t want to share the award?

Whatever the complaint was, it resonated with GAO and they ruled ManTech’s favor on June 17. GAO recommends the Air Force re-evaluate proposals and pay ManTech’s costs.

GAO is still working on a public version of its decision but that process may take longer than normal because the contract is classified. GAO has to reach an agreement with the Air Force, ManTech and the other companies if they filed as so-called “interveners” because the decision could impact their business.

Because it is classified, the Air Force has the final say what can be released.

So we won’t know much more about this one for a while. Some classified protests have taken a year of haggling before anything is released.

We’ll keep an eye on this one because it’s big and its odd. It will be while before we know much more.