In a July 20 memo to attorneys representing the Department of Justice (DOJ), Booz Allen Hamilton, and cybersecurity company EverWatch, U.S. District Court for Maryland Judge Catherine Blake said she might make a final ruling in the DOJ’s antitrust case without a full trial if accumulated evidence supports such a course. Judge Blake tentatively scheduled preliminary injunction hearings for September 15 and 16, with the fact discovery phase of obtaining evidence from the other party expected to proceed until August 22.
DOJ filed suit against Booz Allen on June 29, seeking to stop the management and technology consultancy from acquiring cybersecurity firm EverWatch for roughly $440 million. The case alleges violations of both the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act. In the filing, DOJ said Booz Allen negotiated the EverWatch acquisition after learning the latter planned to compete for a National Security Agency (NSA) contract that the consulting firm has held for more than 20 years.
Booz Allen’s most recent renewal of that NSA contract came in 2014 when it was the only bidder. In response to the suit, a June 30 statement from the consultancy argued the EverWatch acquisition would lead to faster technology development and bring broader digital capabilities to the intelligence community.
As of July 21, it was not clear whether the NSA had issued the final solicitation for the contract in question, nor has the financial value of the contract been disclosed. The winning bidder will provide operational modeling and simulation services to support signals intelligence missions. Signals intelligence (SIGINT) involves intercepting and deciphering electronic signals, such as those sent by communications systems, radars, and weapons systems.
In a statement after the initial filing, Assistant Attorney General in the DOJ’s antitrust division Jonathan Kanter said, “Booz Allen’s agreement to acquire EverWatch imperils competition in a market that is vital to our national security.” Booz Allen responded, “We believe the acquisition would bring together two companies with complementary capabilities to support our collective national security interests” and enhance overall competition.