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Home News Archive Another Lesson for Silicon Valley: The U.S. Army Doesn’t Want You

Another Lesson for Silicon Valley: The U.S. Army Doesn’t Want You

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We have written and opined extensively about the DOD’s attempts to woo Silicon Valley and obtain more commercially developed technology for warfighters. We have been skeptical about the entire initiative. We even devoted an entire article to the fight between the data management platform developed by Palantir and the data management platform developed by traditional defense contractors, called Distributed Common Ground Systems (DCGS).

In that article, written about 18 months ago, we summarized the situation thusly—

… a concrete example of innovative technology that works better and costs less than the traditional product that was designed, developed, and delivered by the traditional defense establishment. The only problem is that it’s disruptive and upsets the status quo. The Pentagon has gotten the innovative technology it said it wanted; but it won’t use it, even if that means soldiers’ lives may be at risk.

Now here we are again, 18 months later, and Palantir has just filed suit at the Court of Federal Claims seeking to have the Army’s entire acquisition strategy overturned. Palantir filed a pre-award bid protest, meaning that it believes the solicitation itself will lead to a flawed source selection decision.

According to this article at DefenseNews—

Palantir’s lawyers call the Army acquisition efforts for the Distributed Common Ground System-Army Increment 1 and Increment 2 both illegal and irrational. … Palantir is arguing the way the Army wrote its requirements in a request for proposals to industry would shut out Silicon Valley companies that provide commercially available products. The company contended that the Army’s plan to award just one contract to a lead systems integrator means commercially available solutions would have to be excluded. … A successful lawsuit, according to the court document, could result in breaking down walls the Army has historically built up between its ‘failed procurement approach and the innovations of the private sector.’

There’s more to the DefenseNews article and you should read it in its entirety. In essence, Palantir has asserted that the Army’s failure to adopt its lower-cost, better functioning product has cost casualties. If that’s true, this is more than a procurement story; it’s a story about failed leadership.

More to come on this, we are sure.



Effective January 1, 2019, Nick Sanders has been named as Editor of two reference books published by LexisNexis. The first book is Matthew Bender’s Accounting for Government Contracts: The Federal Acquisition Regulation. The second book is Matthew Bender’s Accounting for Government Contracts: The Cost Accounting Standards. Nick replaces Darrell Oyer, who has edited those books for many years.