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:GD)and partner AM General.
(NYSE:NAV)and BAE Systems.
(NYSE:LMT)along with BAE Systems (again).
Likewise, a joint protest from Northrop Grumman and partner Oshkosh
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.
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns shares of Boeing and Force Protection -- two of the losers from this week's news. Try any of the Fool’s market-beating newsletter services -- free for 30 days -- and we’ll show you how to roll with the punches and emerge a wealthy winner in the long run. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.