Tension over industry protests boils over as companies manage to overturn contract awards.


There has been much breathless chatter in recent months about the alarming rise in defense industry protests. The Pentagon is now conducting a major review to try to identify what flaws in the system are helping losing bidders successfully challenge contract awards.

In a high-profile ruling last month, the Government Accountability Office sided with protesting contractors BAE Systems and Navistar and overturned an Army award to Oshkosh Truck. According to GAO, Pentagon contract protests rose 24 percent in 2008 from the previous year. A review is under way to examine whether the Pentagon is guilty of poorly defining weapons requirements, and whether shareholder pressures have played a role in the rise of protests. Just in the past three years, there have been a string of high-profile wins for protesters. Boeing successfully challenged an Air Force contract award to Northrop Grumman for a new aerial refueling tanker. And Lockheed Martin Corp. was...

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