Rep. Slaughter Successfully Pushes Army to Allow Open Competition for Radio Contract
WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Ranking Member on the House Rules Committee, announced that her years-long effort to ensure the U.S. Army uses fair and open competition when purchasing military radios has been successful. The Army announced today that it has reversed course from earlier this year and instead of entering into a five year contract with a single vendor for upcoming radio purchases, they will pursue an open acquisition process that will create a competitive market, encourage innovation and drive down costs, all while supporting good-paying jobs at Harris RF, a Rochester-based military radio maker. Harris Corporation, which employs more than 2,100 individuals in Slaughter’s Congressional District, will now be able to compete for $1.2 to $1.5 billion worth of Army radio contracts. The policy change is subject to a final staff review which is expected to occur before the end of December.
“Rochester’s talented workforce and innovative businesses can compete with anyone given a fair playing field, which is why this effort has long been one of my top priorities,” Rep. Slaughter said. “By using open competition, we ensure the men and women of the military get the best products, the government gets the best price, and workers in Rochester get a fair shot.
In a letter to Congresswoman Slaughter, Harris CEO Bill Brown wrote the following: "I want to personally thank you for your commitment to opening up the Army's Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program to competition, and to ensuring that the Department of Defense approves a multi-vendor acquisition strategy for the JTRS acquisition. By championing fair and open competition, you have given Harris the opportunity to deliver this cutting edge technology, developed and manufactured in Rochester, New York, to the warfighter. I appreciate your dedication to fair and open competition, and your commitment to upstate New York businesses."
A brief timeline of Rep. Slaughter’s work on this issue:
Dec 2011 – Rep. Slaughter secured language in the Defense Authorization bill to withhold funds unless Army uses open competition.
May 2012 – Rep. Slaughter defeated an amendment offered in the Rules Committee that would have blocked Harris from competing openly for Army contracts.
March 2013 – Rep. Slaughter spoke with Secretary of the Army John McHugh and asked him to change the Army’s acquisition strategy.
May 2013 – Rep. Slaughter sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions Heidi Shyu regarding a change in acquisition strategy
June 2013 – Rep. Slaughter secured report language in the Defense Appropriations and Defense Authorization bills directing the Army to use open competition.
July 2013 – Rep. Slaughter sent letter to Under Secretary Kendall pushing for open competition in Army radio acquisition.
Summer/Fall 2013 – Rep. Slaughter and her office continued to advocate for an open, multi-vendor acquisition strategy
This is just the latest achievement in Rep. Slaughter’s long record of protecting our troops. In 2009, Rep. Slaughter successfully persuaded the Department of Defense to recall 16,000 pieces of body armor and replace them with safer armor to protect our troops in harm's way. In 2011, Rep. Slaughter secured language improving the prevention and prosecution of sexual assault in the military in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012. This year, Rep. Slaughter announced plans for a new, state-of-the-art Veterans Administration facility to deliver the best care to Monroe County’s veterans.