Sorry, Boeing (NYSE: BA ) . No JLTV for you.
On Tuesday, the news came down: Boeing's challenge of a Pentagon award to build America's Next Top Humvee has been definitively rejected. The Government Accountability Office denied the protests from Boeing and partner Textron (NYSE: TXT ) , which had challenged the Pentagon's decision to award a trio of $60 million Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) prototype contracts to:
- General Dynamics (NYSE: GD ) and partner AM General.
- Navistar (NYSE: NAV ) and BAE Systems.
- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) along with BAE Systems (again).
Likewise, a joint protest from Northrop Grumman and partner Oshkosh (NYSE: OSK ) got the big poke in the eye from on-high. Along with losing bidder Force Protection (Nasdaq: FRPT ) , it looks like they'll be warming the bench for the next few decades as one or more of the Pentagon's favorites rakes in the tens of billions of revenue dollars that stand to be poured into the JLTV program.
Like I said before, it's never been easy to fathom the government contracting process. But I have to tell you, folks -- even though I'm a Boeing shareholder, I'm kind of glad to see the GAO put this protest to bed so quickly.
Over the past eight years, you see, the Pentagon has been plagued by numerous instances of indecision. It still can't seem to make up its mind about whom it wishes to build the new KC-X midair refueling tanker (and that's not the only thing protested recently). It's also awarded translation contracts to one firm, only to suspend them pending multiple challenges by another, finally resolving the matter only when the two pugilists agreed to team up and split the contract.
Change is good. So's hope
As far as JLTVs go, is it the right decision? Is the General Dynamics/AM General machine clearly better than the Textron-Boeing truck? I dunno. I hope so. But right or wrong on the JLTV matter in particular, the GAO under President Obama is getting off to a good start. It's backing the people who make the decisions, making its own judgments quickly, and not waffling.
The way I see it, there's a reason coaches aren't allowed to challenge a ruling on the field after the next play has started. In investing as in football, there's something to be said for finality, because the market abhors uncertainty. Knowing "who won," on the other hand -- knowing that for a fact, and not having to worry about whether a decision made is truly a final decision -- will only make our lives easier as investors.
Even if it's not always our company that wins the prize.