US Army Awards USD 10 Billion Language Services Contract

If you think framework contracts in the United Kingdom are large, the US Department of Defense (DoD) will convince you otherwise. In a statement dated March 3, 2017, the DoD announced the winners of a super-sized, 10-year language services contract. The USD 9.86bn Army contract will be divided among nine companies and run through March 16, 2027.

Winning slots in the framework are ABM Government Services, CALNET, CWU, Global Linguist Solutions, SSI (Mid Atlantic Professionals), Mission Essential, SOS International (SOSi), Valbin, and WorldWide Language Resources.

The contracting authority, the US Army Intelligence and Security Command in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, received 20 bids. The award comprises multiple foreign language support contracts under the program called Defense Language Interpretation Translation Enterprise (DLITE II).

Short notice and urgent

The DLITE II contract will provide interpreting, translating, and transcription services for US Army missions across the globe. Much of it will be “short notice and urgent” and include locations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Guantanamo Bay.

According to the Defense Department RFP, contractors are expected to supervise and report on the services they deliver on a daily basis, including costs. It is also desirable for DLITE II contractors to employ linguists with secondary level, mission-related skills like medical, legal, engineering, and military.

Only three of the nine companies awarded are language service providers (LSPs) in the narrow sense — WorldWide Language Resources, Valbin, and Global Linguist Solutions — with the latter two primarily serving the US government.

Contract winners, Mission Essential and SOSi started out as LSPs, but have since expanded their focus to serve other government requirements. ABM specializes in facilities management, CALNET in IT and intelligence, CWU in staffing, and SSI in language training.

Protest Denied

An article in Washington Technology said SSI, SOSi, Valbin, and WorldWide Language Resources are new to the DLITE framework. The same article said Mission Essential captured the largest chunk of the previous DLITE contract, delivering 73.8% of the work for a total USD 1.2bn. CWU came in second with USD 140m.

According to documents from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), WorldWide Language Resources lodged a pre-award protest over certain requirements around past performance and where linguists will be assigned. The GAO denied the protest in a March 23, 2016 decision.

Such protests are nothing new. Last year, Slator reported that AllWorld Language Consultants protested the awarding of an Air Force contract to SOSi, one of the awardees under DLITE II. The GAO sustained AllWorld’s protest.

Update: On March 23, 2017, the US Department of Defense announced that 11 additional contractors have joined the USD 10bn DLITE II language services framework. Joining the nine previously announced contractors are Arrow Security and Training of New Hampshire, Bluehawk of Florida, CLGT Solutions of Ohio, CLI Solutions of Florida, Consulting Services Group of Virginia, Enigma of Virginia, Global Dimensions of Virginia, Global Executive Management of Florida, Integrity Business Solutions of Maryland, Szanca Solutions of Pennsylvania, and Torden of Massachusetts.