Armed Forces Contracts

The Army and Navy were the only services that offered active duty enlistments for periods of less than four years. However, as part of the FY 2003 Military Appropriations Act, Congress passed the National Call to Service Plan, which required that all of the services create an enlistment program which offered a two year active duty enlistment option, followed by four years in the Active Guard/Reserves, followed by two years in the Inactive Reserves.

The Army and the Navy are the only services which have active duty enlistment options of less than four years, which are not part of the National Call to Service program. The Army offers enlistment contracts of two years, three years, four years, five years, and six years. Only a few Army jobs are available for two and three year enlistees, mainly those jobs that don't require much training time. Most Army jobs require a minimum enlistment period of four years, and some Army jobs require a minimum enlistment period of five years. Additionally, under the Army's 2-year enlistment option, the two years of required active duty don't start until after basic training and job-school, so it turns out to be longer than two years.

The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) is a neutral, independent forum which has existed for more than fifty years. Its main function is to hear and decide post-award contract disputes between government contractors and the Department of Defense (DOD); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as appropriate; and other entities with whom the ASBCA has entered into agreements to provide services. The ASBCA functions under the Contract Disputes Act 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7109or other remedy-granting provisions. The majority of matters on the ASBCA's docket involve appeals by contractors from government contracting officers' final decisions or failures to issue decisions.

An appeal will be processed pursuant to the ASBCA's Rules. The Rules allow a contractor to represent it without a lawyer and the Rules have provisions for the enhanced processing of small dollar amount claims, which can be as much as $150,000 in the case of a qualifying small business. Most hearings will be held by a single Administrative Judge, either at the ASBCA’s offices in Falls Church, Virginia, or in a location more convenient to the parties. Most decisions are made by a panel of three Judges, as the ASBCA functions in a collegial manner.

As a matter of judicial philosophy, the ASBCA encourages parties to attempt to negotiate a resolution of their dispute. In concurrence with that philosophy, the ASBCA has developed a highly successful Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. If the parties make a joint request to the Chairman to use the ASBCA's mediation services, and the parties and the ASBCA agree the dispute is suitable for mediation, the Chairman will provide a Judge to assist the parties in developing an appropriate binding or non-binding ADR process.

In addition to mediating appeals on its docket, the ASBCA has mediated disputes prior to the formal filing of a claim, prior to the issuance of a contracting officer’s final decision, and prior to the filing of an appeal. The ASBCA has provided its services to various agencies and forums, including arbitrating matters pending before Federal courts.

Contact the lawyers at Malyszek & Malyszek today for more information about the different armed forces contracts.