On March 1, the U.S. Army Materiel Command confirmed that Glock’s protest to the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract award to Sig Sauer will not be halted by Glock’s filed protest. According to an Army spokesman, Glock did not file its protest within the timeframe designated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that would effectively halt the contract from moving forward. Glock filed a docket with GAO protesting the adoption of the Sig P320 as the M17 on Friday, seven days after its debrief.
In an email to Task & Purpose, Col. Richard Spiegel, Army Materiel Command public affairs director, said:
"Glock received a debriefing concerning why they did not receive an award on February 17, 2017. Glock's protest to the GAO is timely but was not filed within five days of receiving their debriefing meaning that under the Competition in Contracting Act, Sig Sauer can continue contract performance during the pendency of the protest.”
Spiegel also added that the command’s protest litigation branch is defending against the protest, for which a decision is expected from GAO by June 5.
The GAO's guidelines state that a protest must be filed “not later than 10 days after the date on which the debriefing is held,” which places Glock’s protest within the timeframe for consideration. Glock would have had to file within the five-day window from the debriefing date to facilitate a halt on the contract until litigation is completed. As a result, Sig can move forward with executing the M17 contract during the GAO's investigation of the case.
Without knowing the details of Glock’s protest, it’s hard to say whether it holds much weight. However, in 2016, GAO sustained 22% of filed protests, the highest rate since 2007, meaning that it sided against federal agencies’ awarding of contracts and and task orders, according to a report sent to Congress in December. A high-profile and costly procurement like the Modular Handgun System will have been handled very carefully by the Army, but Glock’s protest will at least receive a GAO investigation.
Task & Purpose has approached both manufacturers for comment. Glock declined to give any further details of its protest bid, telling Task & Purpose, "GLOCK has filed a formal protest according to guidelines established by the Army and we have no comment while the process is ongoing."
Sig Sauer has also been approached for comment has not yet replied.