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Judge Determines USMC Plate Carrier Soft Armor Vendor Not Small Business

About a week and a half ago I started hearing reports that the contractor for the Marine Corps’ Plate Carrier soft armor panels losing their small business status. This is significant because the contract was set aside for a small business.

Naturally, I asked to see some paper work and sure enough, I eventually received a copy of the order.

On February 8th, 2019, Administrative Judge Christopher Holleman of the Small Business Administration, ruled in favor of a protest by Hardwire, LLC against the small business determination of Central Lake Armor Express, Inc which had been awarded a $59,369,617 ceiling, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the production of up to a maximum 65,469 Plate Carrier Generation III – Soft Armor Inserts and data reports by Marine Corps Systems Command On October 25th, 2018.

Judge Holleman determined that CLAE was not a small business for this contract (750 employees) because CEO James Henderson also serves simultaneously as CEO of Steel Connect and ModusLink.

It’s important to point out that this ruling is only for this solicitation. In fact, this business situation may have already changed. However, multiple companies have filed protests against CLAE over their business size.

Although the Marine Corps previously issued a delivery order, there’s no word yet on how they plan to deal with this ruling. Interestingly, MARCOSYSCOM released a Justification and Adjudication (J&A) to raise the ceiling on the contract without having to rebid. They did this on February 7th, just one day before the Judge made his decision.

6 Responses to “Judge Determines USMC Plate Carrier Soft Armor Vendor Not Small Business”

  1. Erick says:

    That’s interesting. I wouldn’t have thought Armor Express would have met that standard to begin with.

  2. pinkerton99 says:

    sounds like jail time

    • AbnMedOps says:

      Sounds like a decision by an Administrative Law Judge on an administrative point of law. I haven’t read the decision, but nothing in this article mentioned any allegation of fraud or wrongful misrepresentation in the company’s application for Small Business status. Now, that may or may not be involved here, but I’d wait to hear if the FBI kicks in this guys bedroom door and shoots his dog before implying jail time.

  3. brandon White says:

    Does anyone have a link to the actual determination?