L-3’s SpecialOps Support Contracts
US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) has been extremely busy since Sept 11/01. That is creating corresponding demands on their support infrastructure, much of which is contracted. SOCOM is famous for having a practical, results-oriented, “get it done now” approach to contracting, which creates more freedom for contractors but also means a certain degree of added pressure. Much like the lives of SOCOM’s operators.
The L-3 Communications conglomerate does a lot of work with US SOCOM, and this article covers a few of those key contracts. Their Joint Operations Group’s profile describes the nature of their work with SOCOM – and it is extensive:
“Aircraft Integration Systems is responsible for providing comprehensive logistics support operations and maintenance located at three principal sites in Lexington and Richmond, Kentucky, with 25 additional locations in 12 other states and four OCONUS sites. The SOFSA provides critical and rapid response for joint logistical support to USSOCOM, focusing on Special Operations Forces (SOF) and SOF-unique equipment. In partnership with USSOCOM and the SOFSA, we match SOF requirements with existing or new capabilities to meet near- and mid-term logistics support mission needs. Not only are we industry leaders in Special Operations Aviation (SOA) systems integration, we also specialize in unique wheeled vehicle engineering and design, and watercraft refurbishment. In addition, the Joint Operations Group maintains expertise in the area of Integrated Logistics Support (ILS), gunsmithing, and communications-electronics and night vision device repair and return. SOFSA operations encompass the entire spectrum of logistics support including repair, modification, maintenance management, life cycle support, and sustainment of equipment.”
Nor is this L-3’s only major support effort for US SOCOM. It’s a relationship that has had its rocky moments, lately, leading to a huge contract loss. Even so, some groups within L-3 continue to be important suppliers of SOCOM support.
Contracts & Key Events
L-3 is certainly not the only provider of IT and other support to US SOCOM. Beyond vehicles like SOFSA, which engages Lockheed Martin, the command has issued significant computing support contracts to firms like General Dynamics Information Technology, HP Enterprise Services, Jacobs Technologies, Inc., etc. This article focuses only on the L-3 conglomerate’s contracts & relationships.
Each task order will be competed, and the total pool is $362 million worth of indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity services, including both firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee line items (CLINs). The competing firms will be:
- L-3 Stratis in Reston, VA (H92222-11-D-0014);
- General Dynamics Information Technology in Fairfax, VA (H92222-11-D-0015)
- Science Applications International Corp. in McLean, VA (H92222-11-D-0016)
- Arma Global Corp. in Tampa, FL (H92222-11-D-0017)
On July 14/11, 3 more competitors were added. The reason for the late additions isn’t clear, but the ITES-II umbrella contract demonstrated that this approach can be used in order to head off protests:
- Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in McLean, VA (H92222-11-D-0037)
- Dell Services Federal Government, Perot Systems Government Services Inc. in Fairfax, VA (H92222-11-D-0038). Dell bought Perot Systems in 2009.
- DRS Technical Services Inc. in Herndon, VA (H92222-11-D-0039)
March 16/11: L3 STRATIS in Reston, VA receives a single 4-year, $84.9 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for Special Operations Forces Information Technology Enterprise Contracts distributed computing management services (DCMS). The contractor will help run, tune, and sustain DCMS, as part of US SOCOM’s global enterprise information technology distributed computing environment.
Most work will be performed at MacDill Air Force Base, FL, with limited performance in “multiple stateside and overseas locations.” US SOCOM manages this contract (H92222-11-D-0008). See also FedBizOpps | L-3 release.
Jan 24/11: L-3 Global Communications Solutions, Inc. in Victor, NY has the ceiling for its FY 2006 Special Operations Forces Deployable Node-Medium (SDN-M) contract increased by $40 million, to a new not-to-exceed amount of $157 million. Procurement actions are expected to be completed by Aug 30/12, and sustainment work is scheduled to be completed by Sept 30/15 (H92222-06-D-0007). See also FedBizOpps.
Aug 25/10: L-3 Global Communications Solutions, Inc. in Victor, NY receives a 5-year, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract worth up to $170 million, for the Special Operations Forces Deployable Node-Lite (SDN-L).
Satellite communication is critical to special forces teams, who are always looking for better performance. Working with the US SOCOM’s Research, Development and Acquisition Center, L-3 will integrate, configure, test and support this effort to give special forces more bandwidth/data throughput and enhanced security, within a smaller overall size and weight. L-3 GCS will use its Panther Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), and has worked for the past 2 years to reduce the VSAT terminal to the point that it can offer megabit per-second connectivity that fits into a field pack. The Panther X-Band VSAT passed MIL-STD-810F testing in March 2010.
The company plans to begin shipping military tested and cerfitied Ku-band, Ka-band and X-band manpacks, data kits and power systems to USSOCOM in 2010, with additional units delivered throughout the life of the contract. Work will be performed in Victor, NY, and the ordering period will end in August 2015. USSOCOM manages the contract (H92222-10-D-1006). See FBO SDN-Lv3 2008 solicitation | FBO SDN-L 2010 solicitation | L-3 GCS release | Defense Systems.
July 27/10: In an earnings report, L-3 CEO Michael Strianese says that:
“Finally, we expect to execute an agreement with the Air Force today, under which the Air Force will lift the suspension of L-3’s Special Support Programs Division. The Air Force will also agree not to suspend Integrated Systems.”
The condition is that L-3 sign a 3-year agreement with the USAF concerning mandatory ethics training for employees and officers. The barbs are sharper. L-3 will pay the USAF $60,000 to reimburse it for investigation-related costs. It will not protest the June 21/10 SOFSA re-award to Lockheed Martin, will cooperate in the transition, and L-3 SSPD cannot perform IT work for the government during this 3 year agreement unless it is directly related to the SOFSA contract. L-3 Q2 2010 Earnings release [PDF] | Full L-3/USAF administrative agreement [PDF] | DoD Buzz.
June 9/10: Relationship rupture. L-3 serves notice that:
“…Special Support Programs Division (L-3 SSPD, formerly known as L-3 Joint Operations Group (JOG)) has been temporarily suspended from receiving any new contracts or orders from U.S. Federal Government agencies, including under its Special Operations Forces Support Activity (SOFSA) contract.
The notice of temporary suspension was received from the Office of the Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Air Force on June 4, 2010 and relates to an on-going governmental investigation of L-3 SSPD concerning the alleged inappropriate use of an e-mail system by L-3 SSPD employees. L-3 SSPD is continuing to perform on outstanding orders under its existing contracts, including the SOFSA contract. The temporary suspension will remain in effect until lifted at the discretion of the Air Force.
The Air Force has also notified L-3 that it is considering whether a suspension of L-3 Communications Integrated Systems L.P., as the parent of L-3 SSPD, is also warranted.”
L-3 SSPD managed the network, and allegedly copied, stored, and viewed sent emails in an attempt to discover whether its employees had shared its information with another contractor. US SOCOM reportedly began to monitor communications among L-3 employees after a tip from a rival contractor. The USAF is also investigating whether L-3 employees without appropriate security clearances were brought in to work on sensitive projects, and might expand the probe to the entire L-3 company. The Atlantic | DoD Buzz | Bloomberg | Reuters | Washington Technology | Wall St. Journal (subscriber-only).
April 19/10: L-3 Services of Tampa, FL received a $150 million maximum order amount modification to increase the contract ceiling on the current indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for information technology support to USSOCOM Headquarters, its components, theater special operation commands and the military departments (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) that have or provide direct support to Special Operations forces. The original contract was awarded March 13/02 to BTG, which was acquired in 2005 by L-3 when it purchased Titan Corp. (which itself acquired BTG in 2001); the original contract had a maximum value of $189.4 million.
Work will performed in Tampa, FL and “other locations,” and the contract will expire March 31/11 (USZA22-02-D-0017, P00050).
April 6/09: L-3 Communications Integrated Systems’ Joint Operations Group in Lexington, KY receives a $200 million ceiling increase modification to their existing indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for SOFSA contractor logistics support services, until Oct 24/09.
“This increase is required to sustain operations pending the results of a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office.”
March 10/09: L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. files a formal GAO challenge to the recent SOFSA CLS award. Reuters adds:
“InsideDefense.com, an online trade publication that was the first to report the protest, cited a March 4 report from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, as having said L-3’s loss to Lockheed Martin “may have both a psychological and financial impact as it was one of LLL’s largest, best recognized programs.”
March 4/09: L-3’s overall special operations support business takes a major hit, as Lockheed Martin wins the next 10-year, $5 billion installment of US SOCOM’s SOFSA CLS support contract. Read “Lockheed to Replace L-3 on $5B SOCOM Suppoprt Contract” for more.
Feb 9/09: L-3 Services of Tampa, FL received a $400 million maximum order amount modification to increase the contract ceiling on the current indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for information technology support to USSOCOM Headquarters, its component commands, theater special operation commands, and the military departments (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) that have or provide direct support to Special Operations Forces. The effect is to triple the maximum value of the original $189.4 million March 13/02 award.
Work will be performed in Tampa, FL and “other locations,” and the contract will expire on March 31/11. The ceiling increase will be accomplished by issuing modification P00047 to contract number USZA22-02-D-0017 on an ‘other than full and open’ competition basis.
Jan 30/09: The Air Force is awarding a contract to L3 Communications Corp., Integrated Systems Joint Operations of Lexington, KY for $6.2 million, to exercise the remaining option for the production and installation of dual rails applicable to the MC-130P “Combat Shadow”. The MC-130P is a modified Hercules plane that serves as SOCOM’s primary option for transporting its forces to their mission zones. The work will be performed in Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, FL. The WR-ALC/580th ACSSG/Contracting at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (USZA22-03-D-0006, RJ31-03).
June 25/07: L-3 Communications Integrated Systems’ Joint Operations Group in Lexington, KY received a $600 million ceiling increase modification to an existing indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contract, for Contractor Logistics Services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOFSA CLS). Work will be performed “in various locations,” and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/08. The basic contract was awarded through full and open competition, and one proposal was received (USZA22-03-D-0006).
The ceiling increase raises this contract’s potential total to $2.1 billion.
March 12/03: A $1.5 billion indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to “maintain a dedicated, highly responsive logistical support capability to special operation forces worldwide in support of the global war on terrorism.” The new contract ceiling increase thus brings the maximum potential total of this contract to $2.1 billion. The bulk of the work will be performed in Lexington, KY and will be complete by Sept 30/13 (USZA22-03-D-0006).
This US SOCOM page contains contract documents related to the contract, and requested modifications.
March 13/02: BTG, Inc. in Fairfax, VA received an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract, with performance based provisions. to provide for enterprise information technology services support of special operations forces world-wide. The maximum dollar value of this contract is $189.4 million.
Work will primarily be performed within the continental USA, and managed out of Tampa, FL. United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, FL manages this contract (USZA22-02-D-0017).
- DID – Lockheed to Replace L-3 on $5B SOCOM Support Contract
- US Congressional Research Service (updated Jan 16/09) – U.S. Special Forces (SOF) Background and Issues for Congress
- L-3 Communications Integrated Services – Lexington, KY Joint Operations Group