Palantir, the secretive Silicon Valley technology company that creates tools to mine and analyse large quantities of data, just won an important legal battle against the US Army. The company was protesting the way the Army accepted bids to create an upgraded version of its Distributed Common Ground System, a multi-billion dollar project that helps organise and coordinate efforts across different military branches.
The company felt that it has been unfairly prevented from pitching its bid to the US Army, and that the Army had broken a Federal law that requires military branches to consider bids from commercial companies. After today’s ruling, Palantir now has a chance to bid on creating the next upgrade to the Army’s DCGS.
Palantir has had success within the US military and intelligence complex. For example, it received investment from the CIA’s venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Furthermore, the company has contracts with the Air Force, Marines, Navy, FBI and Department of Homeland Security. But Palantir’s quest to be a primary provider of intelligence software for the US military hinges on being able to build the next version of DCGS. The initial project could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but as Bloomberg notes, the winner of this bid is expected to play a key role in further developing more of the DCGS, which could be worth billions of dollars.
“These DCGS program owners seem more intent on protecting their own failed program than on adopting a far superior commercially available technology that has been proven to work,” Palantir wrote in its complaint against the US Army. “The Army’s procurement officials are refusing even to consider buying the product that its troops on the ground are consistently telling Army headquarters they want.” The Army, citing the fact that the winner of the contract had not yet been chosen, tried to have the case thrown out of court.
We still don’t know the details of the judge’s final ruling, as her 100 page decision hasn’t yet been released, pending redaction requests from Palantir and the US government.