Law360: Vectrus Wins $97M Keesler Air Force Base Contract

By John Kennedy, Law360, New York, July 24, 2017-A Vectrus Inc. unit won a $97 million contract to provide support services at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, for up to seven years,
the company announced Monday. As stipulated in the contract, Vectrus Systems Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Vectrus, will support base operations at Keesler, home of the 81st Training Wing and the U.S. Air Force’s electronics training center. Services include emergency response management, installation and mission operations management, grounds maintenance, supply services, human resources support,
weather services and elevator equipment.

“It’s an honor to support our Air Force client at one of the largest technical training wings in the U.S. Air Education and Training Command,” Chuck Prow, Vectrus’ president and CEO, said in a statement. “Keesler is of strategic importance for Vectrus, as it further expands our work with the Air Force.”

Along with handling 28,000 students each year at the electronics training center, Keesler is also home to the Mathies Noncommissioned Officer Academy, the 85th Engineering Installation Squadron and
the 2nd Air Force 403rd Wing, also known as the “Hurricane Hunters,” who observe and gather data on hurricanes.

VSC has been awarded a few other Air Force contracts this year, including a $37 million deal to provide similar base operations support services at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, and a $14 million agreement for logistics services supporting the Bagram Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at the U.S. Air Force at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

The Maxwell-Gunter contract was announced in March and like the Keesler deal, could last up to seven years. It was a re-compete of an existing contract that VSC has held since 2009, the company said.

Last year, a $411 million Air Force contract awarded to another Vectrus affiliate, Exelis Services A/S, was at the center of a lawsuit brought by competitors Per Aarsleff A/S, Copenhagen Arctic and Greenland Contractors.

The contract served Thule Air Base in Greenland, a remote base that operates under a rent-free deal between the U.S. and Denmark. In return, any procurements related to the base are supposed to use
Danish or Greenlandic sources “wherever feasible.”

The U.S. Department of State requires companies serving Thule to be registered in Denmark and specifically, not as a subsidiary of a non-Danish foreign company.

The seven-year deal was awarded to Exelis in October 2014, touching off protests to the U.S. Government Accountability Office from the three competitors, who argued that Exelis was registered in Denmark only just prior to the company’s bid and was owned by U.S-based VSC.

The GAO denied the challenges, but the U.S. Court of Federal Claims overturned the decision and effectively blocked a U.S. company from qualifying by creating a Danish subsidiary.

But the Federal Circuit found that the relevant contract wasn’t clear about whether simply being a Danish-registered company that’s also owned by a foreign company is enough to disqualify a bidder, or if another indication of subsidiary status was necessary and reinstated the Exelis contract.

The circuit court refused to rehear its decision in November.

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