Defense Department attorneys won an
appeals court decision on Jan. 6 that denies a demand from a small business
advocacy group that Sikorsky Aviation Corp. be required to disclose its
subcontracting plan submitted under a long-standing Pentagon program.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th
against the Petaluma, Calif.-based American Small Business League, saying
that forcing the helicopter maker to disclose its subcontracting plan would put
it at a competitive disadvantage.
Small business booster Lloyd Chapman has
long challenged the Pentagon’s 27-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program as
nonproductive and oriented mostly toward obfuscating the degree to which large
contractors win defense business intended for smaller ones.
“By seeking disclosure of Sikorsky
Aviation Corporation’s participation in the CSPTP, the ASBL sought to
reveal evidence that the program allowed the Pentagon's largest prime
contractors to circumvent small business subcontracting goals without penalty,
costing small businesses trillions of dollars,” the league said in a statement
following the ruling.
court judge in 2014 had sided with Chapman, scolding Defense Department
attorneys for disclosing only partial information on subcontracting plans. The
district court had ordered the Pentagon to release Sikorsky’s data, saying it
did not contain trade secrets or proprietary or confidential financial
None of the information was released,
however, and now the appeals court found that the lower court “erred in
holding that none of the information currently redacted from the plan is
protected” under exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act. That exemption
assures companies doing business with the government that their “trade secrets
or financial information [that is] privileged or confidential will not be
revealed to third parties,” the appeals judges wrote.
Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson
told Government Executive: “We appreciate and agree with the 9th Circuit
Court’s thoughtful opinion.”
League president Chapman plans an
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