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Mark A. Ries

Senior Counsel

mries@crowell.com
Phone: +1 202.624.2794
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Mark A. Ries is a senior counsel in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring's Washington, D.C. office. Mark represents government contractors across a wide range of government procurement law matters, including bid protests, internal investigations, ethics and compliance, interpretation of FAR and agency supplement contract clauses and solicitation provisions, contract claims and disputes, and small business contracting. Mark also uses his experience as a Facility Security Officer (FSO) to advise clients on national security matters, such as National Industrial Security Program Manual (NISPOM) compliance and facility and personnel clearances.

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Mark served in the U.S. Army for 20 years and garnered experience across the full spectrum of government contract and fiscal law matters, primarily as an acquisition law specialist within the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. Mark's final Army assignment was with the Acquisition Law Practice Group in the Army Office of General Counsel (OGC), advising the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)), the director of Army Small Business Programs, Program Executive Officers (PEO), and program managers in support of major defense acquisition programs and other procurements with congressional and public interest.

Before his OGC position, Mark litigated in defense of the Army and Department of Defense (DoD) agencies against bid protests before the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Court of Federal Claims (COFC), and contract appeals before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA). Mark also served as the deputy chief counsel for the Army's contracting command in Europe, advising the principal assistant responsible for contracting and contracting officers on the planning, award, administration, and dispute resolution of construction, service, and supply contracts. Mark leverages this government in-house experience to benefit clients in their business engagements with government agencies and, when needed, in litigation.

Rounding out Mark’s time in the Army, he was an associate professor at the Army's Judge Advocate General's School, the premier federal government provider of contract and fiscal law education, where he was the recognized subject matter expert in bid protests, construction contracting, contingency contracting, and contractors on the battlefield. Prior to focusing on government contract law, Mark prosecuted felonies and misdemeanors and served as the sole legal advisor for a 4,500-person organization. While deployed to Iraq, he advised military commanders on international law compliance and advised senior officers investigating alleged war crimes. During his military career, Mark was also a platoon leader, an operations officer, and a branch chief in charge of congressional inquiry responses and line of duty investigations.

REPRESENTATIVE ENGAGEMENTS

Bid Protests

Representing Protester
  • Successfully challenged the awardee’s past performance rating, setting aside USTRANSCOM’s award of a $3 billion freight services contract, because the values of the awardee’s past efforts were extremely small relative to the value of the requirement. XPO Logistics Worldwide Gov’t Servs., LLC, B- 412628.6, B- 412628.7, Mar. 14, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 88.
  • Successfully challenged the agency’s organizational conflict of interest (OCI) and past performance evaluations, setting aside the Air Force’s award of a $40 million computer network operations and cyberspace warfare operations contract, because the agency failed to reasonably evaluate whether the awardee had adequately avoided or mitigated its unequal access to competitively sensitive information and the past performance evaluation was flawed. AT&T Gov’t Solutions, Inc., B-413012; B-413012.2, July 28, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 237
  • Successfully obtained corrective action following the filing of GAO protests on behalf of several clients, permitting the clients another opportunity to win contract award. Protest grounds in these cases have included, among others, that the awardee had engaged in an impermissible “bait & switch” of key personnel, that the agency assigned unwarranted technical weaknesses and failed to assign warranted technical strengths, that the agency impermissibly excluded sources from competing, and that the agency unreasonably excluded the offeror from the competitive range.
Representing Contract Awardee/Intervenor or Government Agency
  • Successfully defended against a GAO protest challenging the technical evaluations and purported “double standard” applied by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in its award of a contract to deliver and operate the NRO infrastructure service provider Network Domain across the NRO information enterprise. Peraton, Inc., B-417088; B-417088.2, Feb. 6, 2019, 2019 CPD ¶ 190.
  • Successfully defended against GAO and COFC protests challenging more than $58 billion worth of U.S. Department of Defense contracts for Tricare “managed care support” contracts. UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services, LLC; WellPoint Military Care Corp.; Health Net Fed. Servs., LLC, B-411837.2 et al., Nov. 9, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 329; UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Servs., LLC v. United States, 132 Fed. Cl. 529 (2017).
  • Successfully defended against a COFC protest challenging a competitive range determination that left only one remaining contender to win a 25-year contract to build and operate a nationwide public safety broadband network, while granting the contractor claim to commercialize large amounts of unused spectrum, as well as $6.5 billion for construction costs. Rivada Mercury, LLC v. United States, 131 Fed. Cl. 663 (2017).
  • Successfully defended against a protest challenging the evaluation of the awardee’s technical and price proposals in the Army’s $49 million contract award for operation of a training facility for Warfighter Information Network–Tactical (WIN-T) instruction at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Systems Plus, Inc., B- 413323.3, B- 413323.5, May 11, 2017, 2017 WL 2570951.
  • Successfully defended against a protest challenging multiple aspects of the agency's evaluation and source selection decision in the General Services Administration (GSA), Federal Acquisition Service, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), $113 million contract award for systems engineering and technical support services supporting the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). Noblis, Inc., B- 414055 Feb. 1, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 33.
  • Successfully defended against two protests challenging the $64 million award of an Asymmetric Warfare Group specialized services support contract, defeating numerous technical evaluation challenges from one protester that withdrew its protest after filing of the Agency Report, and later defeating challenges from the other protester involving price realism, technical evaluations, meaningful discussions, and the best value tradeoff decision. CACI-WGI, Inc., B-408520.2, Dec. 16, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ 293.
  • Successfully defended against a protest when the protester withdrew its protest following a classified GAO outcome prediction ADR session. Unpublished.
  • Successfully defended against a COFC protest challenging the Army's nonresponsibility determination based on classified information obtained through the U.S. military's vendor vetting program. Ettefaq-Meliat-Hai-Afghan Consulting, Inc. v. United States, 106 Fed. Cl. 429 (2012).
Contract Claims and Appeals
  • Successfully defended against an appeal at the ASBCA where the contractor sought payment for construction work completed, obtaining dismissal for lack of jurisdiction where the contract was not subject to the Contract Disputes Act (CDA). White Hand Company, LLC, ASBCA No. 59184, 15-1 BCA ¶ 36,003.
  • Successfully defended against an appeal at the ASBCA following a hearing where the contractor challenged the Army's termination for default and asserted a damages claim under a contract to procure wing section spares, defeating allegations of government delay on which the contractor had prevailed in a similar appeal against another agency. DODS, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 57746, 58252, 14-1 BCA ¶ 35,677.
  • Successfully defended against an appeal at the ASBCA obtaining summary judgment. Thefaf Al Rafidain Contracting Co., ASBCA No. 59014, 14-1 BCA ¶ 35,573.
  • Successfully negotiated settlement of an ASBCA appeal on behalf of an Army nonappropriated fund instrumentality (NAFI), obtaining a liquidated damages payment from the contractor where the propriety of the contract termination was disputed.
  • Successfully negotiated settlement of an ASBCA appeal on behalf of the CENTCOM Joint Theater Support Contracting Command, where the dispute concerned whether the contractor was obligated to complete the entire project at a fixed price or to provide its best efforts at a monthly fixed price.

Education

  • Gustavus Adolphus College, B.A. (1995)
  • College of William & Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law, J.D. (2002) summa cum laude
  • The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, LL.M. (2006) Commandant's List

Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Virginia, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Professional Memberships

  • American Bar Association (ABA): Public Contract Law Section (past Vice Chair, Bid Protest Committee); Administrative Law Section
  • Federal Bar Association (FBA)
  • Court of Federal Claims Bar Association (CFCBA)
  • Board of Contract Appeals Bar Association (BCABA)
  • National Contract Management Association (NCMA)
  • Judge Advocates Association (JAA)
  • Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

View More

"GAO Denies Air Force "Leeway" to Conduct Tradeoff Using Paired Proposals," Government Contracts Bullet Points (December 9, 2019). Contacts: Jonathan M. Baker, Mark A. Ries
Client Alert/Newsletter
"GAO Finds Eight Days Insufficient for FPR Response," Government Contracts Bullet Points (December 3, 2019). Contacts: John E. McCarthy Jr., Mark A. Ries
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Perspectives from Private Industry," US Army JAG School New Developments Course, Charlottesville, VA (November 7, 2019). Moderator and Panelist: Mark A. Ries.
Speech/Presentation
"Recent GAO Decision Permits One-sided Discussions as Agency Corrective Action," Crowell & Moring's Government Contracts Legal Forum (August 15, 2019). Authors: Eric M. Ransom, Mark A. Ries and Robert J. Sneckenberg.
Publication
"Navigating the National Industrial Security Program," Government Contracts Breakfast Series, Tysons, VA (April 24, 2019). Presenters: Adelicia Cliffe, Mark Ries, and Jonathan Baker.
Speech/Presentation
"Section 809 Panel Proposes Significant Curtailing of Pre-Award and GAO/COFC Protest Process for Commercial-Item Acquisitions," Government Contracts Bullet Points (March 18, 2019). Contacts: Mark A. Ries, Christian N. Curran, Anuj Vohra, G. Meredith Parnell
Client Alert/Newsletter
Law360 Names Crowell & Moring's Government Contracts Group a "Practice Group of the Year" for the Ninth Consecutive Year (Feb.22.2019)
Firm News/Announcement
"Section 809 Panel Recommends Five Changes to Bid Protests in DoD Procurements," Government Contracts Bullet Points (January 30, 2019). Contacts: G. Meredith Parnell, Anuj Vohra, Mark A. Ries, Christian N. Curran
Client Alert/Newsletter
"All Things Protest: Classified Edition (May 2018)," Podcast: All Things Protest (May 30, 2018). Contacts: Robert J. Sneckenberg, Olivia Lynch, Mark A. Ries
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Brace for Impact - Protest Reform that Could Affect Your Business," OOPS 2018, Crowell & Moring's 34th Annual Ounce of Prevention Seminar, Washington, D.C. (May 17, 2018). Presenters: Anuj Vohra, Mark A. Ries, Christian N. Curran, James G. Peyster, and Robert J. Sneckenberg.
Speech/Presentation

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, and Brussels.

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