Gov't Contracts Of The Month: Vaccines, Post Office Revamp

By Alyssa Aquino
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Law360 (February 26, 2021, 6:46 PM EST) -- The U.S. Postal Service awarded $482 million to begin a multibillion-dollar effort to replace its vehicle fleet in February. Other notable government awards include a $3.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine order and a $417 million policy research contract.

Here are Law360's top picks for government contracts from February:

Biden Orders 200 Million More Doses Of Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines

The Biden administration ordered 200 million additional doses of Pfizer Inc.'s and Moderna Inc.'s separate COVID-19 vaccines, allowing the country to accelerate its vaccination program, acting Health and Human Services Secretary Norris Cochran said on Feb. 11.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech received $2 billion, while Moderna brought in $1.65 billion. Both plan on delivering the doses in regular increments through the end of July, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense.

"We're now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July," President Joe Biden said separately.

In related COVID-19 contracting news, the DOD and HHS on Feb. 1 awarded $231.8 million to Ellume USA LLC to increase domestic manufacturing of its COVID-19 at-home diagnostic test. The money will allow Ellume to domestically produce 640,000 tests per day by December 2021.

Post Office Begins 10-Year Campaign To Replace Fleet With $482M Award

The U.S. Postal Service gave Oshkosh Defense LLC $482 million to produce next-generation postal delivery vehicles over the next 10 years, the agency announced on Feb. 23.

Currently, the USPS has over 230,000 vehicles in every class, making its postal delivery fleet one of the largest in the world. However, that stock includes vehicles that have been running for 30 years, according to the agency.

Oshkosh will use the award to assemble 50,000 to 165,000 next-generation vehicles, with the first batch slated to hit the road in 2023. The vehicles will be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines or electric batteries, and will be designed to be retrofitted with future electric vehicle technology,

The contract will drive "the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades," the agency said.

The Oshkosh award came down one day after the USPS gave Parsons Corp. $600 million for program management services. The partnership marks Parsons' third consecutive award with the USPS. Parsons previously supported the USPS's self-service kiosks, elevator modernization, parking structure rehabilitation and leased space accessibility programs, according to the USPS.

RAND Nabs $417M For National Security Research

The DOD's Washington Headquarters Services gave nonprofit think tank RAND Corp. $417 million on Feb. 19 to research, study and analyze defense policy through 2025.

RAND's research will help inform senior officials' policymaking at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands and other defense agencies. The research support will further allow the DOD to maintain a research program focused on top priority, mid- to long-term policy issues, according to the DOD.

Biden Keeps Trump-Era Space Dreams Alive With $1.2B Awards

The Biden administration kept alive its predecessor's ambitions for a U.S. Space Force and future lunar missions by handing over $1.2 billion to LinQuest, SpaceX and other companies.

LinQuest Corporation leads the pack with a $500 million, five-year award to provide analysis support to the Space Force. The award, which was unveiled on Feb. 2, is the first enterprise contract allowing the Space Force and others to establish task orders, according to LinQuest.

The Space Force also awarded $247 million to BAE Systems PLC to design and manufacture advanced military GPS receivers and next-generation semiconductors that can withstand "challenging electromagnetic environments," BAE Systems said on Feb. 17.

Earlier this month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the Space Force, crafted by former President Donald Trump, had the "full support" of the Biden administration. Psaki further confirmed that the White House intended to support the Artemis Program, NASA's campaign to put a man and woman on the moon.

On Feb. 9, NASA gave Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, $331 million to launch key elements of Gateway, the agency's long-term, orbital lunar outpost. Gateway will be critical to supporting Artemis. SpaceX also nabbed $98 million on Feb. 4 to launch a spectrophotometer for NASA's two-year mission to survey the sky.

Biden Kicks Off First Foreign Arms Deals Of His Presidency

The DOD notified Congress on Feb. 5 of its plans to sell $150 million worth of military equipment to NATO and the Chilean navy — marking the Biden administration's first foreign military arms sales.

Raytheon Technologies will serve as the primary contractor for an $85 million deal that would see 16 SM-2 medium range surface-to-air missiles sold to the Chilean government. The missiles would boost the anti-air warfare capabilities of two former Adelaide-class frigates previously transferred to the Chilean navy, according to the DOD's Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner in South America," the agency said.

The NATO deal would provide NATO with $65 million worth of radio systems and other communications equipment.

---Additional reporting by Hailey Konnath and Asher Stockler. Editing by Steven Edelstone.

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