Gov't Contracts Of The Month: Virus Tests, Fighter Jets

By Alyssa Aquino
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Law360 (May 28, 2021, 7:32 PM EDT) -- The Biden administration poured $640 million into COVID-19 testing efforts in schools and other facilities, awarded $6.4 billion for nuclear waste management at a federal research center and opened up a $14 billion fighter jet production line in South Carolina.

Here are Law360's top picks for government contracts in May.

Feds Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing

The Biden administration signed three agreements on May 25 totaling $640 million to ramp up COVID-19 testing efforts in underserved communities, schools, homeless shelters and other congregate settings nationwide.

Clinical Enterprise Inc., PerkinElmer Health Sciences Inc. and Battelle Memorial Institute announced their separate awards on May 27. Some 187 vendors had vied for the contracts, according to Clinical Enterprise.

Clinical Enterprise plans to test 24.6 million people in the American Northeast and South, while Battelle aims to test 750,000 people a week in the Midwest. The contract holders will immediately begin outreach and coordination, with testing set to begin in early July, Battelle said.

Weeks earlier, Maximus Federal Services Inc. received $951 million to support the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's surge support and national COVID-19 vaccination assistance hotline. Details of the sole-source award became available on April 29. Early in the pandemic, the Virginia-based company staffed a round-the-clock CDC call center.

Perspecta Wins $474M Deal for Background Check System

The U.S. Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency awarded $474 million for Perspecta Enterprise Solutions LLC to produce a background check management system that it prototyped under a prior contract.

The agency awarded the funds through a mechanism called Other Transaction Authority, a streamlined instrument that allows the government to rapidly acquire prototype technology but which isn't traditionally a procurement contract. The one-year award, which comes with four one-year options, follows Perspecta's prior May 2019 award — also through an OTA — to build a prototype management system for DCSA.

DCSA vets roughly 95% of federal employees, having assumed that responsibility from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in October 2019. Since then, DCSA has attempted to close out a backlog of unfinished background checks. By June 2020, the agency reduced the 725,000 backlog to 188,000, according to a report to Congress.

$6.4B Nuclear Cleanup Deal Inked

The Idaho Environmental Coalition LLC nabbed a 10-year, $6.4 billion nuclear waste cleanup contract from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under the deal, which was unveiled on May 27, the company will handle waste treatment and spent nuclear fuel management, decontaminate and decommission facilities, and perform environmental remediation activities at the Idaho National Laboratory, a federal nuclear energy research and development lab.

The company beat out four other bidders for the work, according to the DOE.

$14B Fighter Jet Production Line Takes Wing

The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin Co. $14 billion to open up a new F-16 fighter jet production line in its South Carolina facility, according to a May 17 government announcement.

The site will produce 128 fighter jets ordered by Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan and other foreign governments, with the first jets scheduled for completion in 2022, the Air Force said.

"There are 25 nations operating F-16s today," said Col. Brian Pearson, a team leader with the Air Force's Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate. "The line helps us meet the global demand that a number of nations have for [F-16] aircraft and gives us the additional capability to provide the aircraft to countries interested in purchasing it for the first time."

Lockheed's South Carolina line is the only F-16 production facility in the world, according to the Air Force.

AT&T Wins $306M Telecom Deals With DHS

U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded AT&T four task orders worth up to $306 million over the next 12 years to modernize the agency's telecommunications infrastructure with internet protocol-based networking services.

The contracts allow DHS to access AT&T's data networking, voice collaboration, equipment and security services, AT&T said May 27. DHS may also use AT&T's FirstNet, its high-speed wireless broadband network for first responders, under the deals.

AT&T's networking services will support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Science and Technology Directorate, as well as DHS headquarters, according to AT&T.

Looking Ahead: NIH Releases Solicitation for $50B IT Deal

The U.S. National Institutes of Health released a solicitation for a $50 billion governmentwide acquisition contract for general biomedical and health IT services.

The up-to-10-year Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 4, or CIO-SP4, deal will allow federal agencies to quickly order information technology services across 10 task areas, including cybersecurity, cloud services and software development, according to a May 25 announcement.

"We are excited about the possibility CIO-SP4 holds for revolutionizing the way agencies acquire IT," said Brian Goodger, the acting director of NIH's Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center.

The contract includes more money than its predecessor, the $20 billion CIO-SP3, which expires in May 2022. Bids for CIO-SP4 are due on or around June 28.

--Additional reporting by Daniel Wilson. Editing by Jill Coffey.

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