Air Force suspends Iron Bow, others from new contracts

Monday - 10/31/2011, 7:49pm EDT

The Air Force has proposed Iron Bow Technologies of Chantilly, Va. and three others for debarment, and suspended them from receiving new government contracts and subcontracts.

The Air Force listed Iron Bow; Advanced C4 Solutions of Warner Robbins, Ga.; Superior Communications Solutions Inc. of Moultrie, Ga.; and one individual on the excluded parties list system Oct. 24.

"The leadership team at Iron Bow is actively working with the government to quickly resolve the matter," said Rene LaVigne, president and CEO of Iron Bow Technologies, in an email to Federal News Radio.

Iron Bow did not specify why it and the other companies had been suspended by the Air Force.

Calls to Advanced C4 Solutions and Superior Communications Solutions also were not returned.

Air Force alleges conflict of interest, unfinished work

The Air Force said in its memo of proposed debarment that the companies violated conflict-of-interest rules by helping develop the requirements for an IT and furnishings project for the Jones and Smart Buildings located at Joint Base Andrews and then bidding on the solicitation to do the work.

AC4S was the prime contractor and SCSI and Iron Bow were the subcontractors, the Air Force alleges.

Iron Bow also won several contracts to provide audio-visual equipment and furnishings for the same buildings a few months later.

"AC4S, SCST and Iron Bow set the standards against which they would be measured in a manner that is impermissible under government contracting rules," the Air Force complaint stated. "Even though AC4S, SCSI and Iron Bow improperly developed their own contract requirements, subjects failed to meet their own requirements. For example, despite requirements to provide mission critical information technologies to more than 2,200 personnel, within the first two months after the building opened, a review by an unaffiliated contractor discovered 14 critical findings, 19 major findings and seven minor findings that impacted the overall security, access to and performance of the IT network in the Jones and Smart buildings."

The Air Force said the companies also have stopped working on the contracts and have left the job site without finishing the work under the contract.

"Since that time, subjects have been unwilling to provide operational manuals or source-code data to permit the Air Force to begin to correct subjects' work, causing substantial harm to the Air Force," the service wrote. "As one example, because IT systems at the Jones and Smart buildings remain unfinished, the audio visual and teleconference systems capability are not functioning."

Official hearing is next step

The companies must plead their case before the Air Force debarring official hearing to either lift the suspension or have the government make a decision on a final debarment period, which is usually three years. Regulations allow for the agency to suspend a company for up to a year.

The companies can continue to provide services they are currently under contract for during the suspension period.

In fiscal-year 2012, so far, Iron Bow has received more than $892,000 in prime contracts, according to the USASpending.gov site. It has received 13 contracts from the Veterans Affairs Department and six from the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2011, Iron Bow received almost $200 million in federal contracts, more than half of which came from the Defense Department, according to the USASpending site.

On its website, Iron Bow lists among its clients the Army, the Air Force and the Navy as well as the Homeland Security, Commerce, Education and Agriculture Departments and several independent and small agencies. It holds a host of multiple award contracts, including the Army's ITES-2H, NASA SEWP IV, Air Force Netcents and a General Services Administration IT schedule.

Advanced C4 Solutions received 88 prime contracts in 2011 worth more than $14 million, most of which came from DoD. The company is an 8(a) firm and holds multiple award contracts from the Army, ITES-2S, ENCORE II and Seaport-e, according to its website.

Superior Communications Solutions received 20 contracts last year worth more than $3.6 million, including 11 from DoD and six from VA. The company is on the Seaport-e contract and, on its website, describes itself as a subcontractor with Iron Bow on six multiple-award contracts.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.