No Starry Eyes For ORION 2, GAO Tells DIA

At the GAO, Science Applications International Corporation protested award of a task order under a task order contract to Computer Sciences Corporation.  The Defense Intelligence Agency had previously implemented the ORION project to improve the handling of data for classified users. To successfully integrate phase 2 of ORION, DIA solicited a task order request to provide  requisite personnel and material.  DIA had awarded the task order to CSC after determining it presented the best value – considering technical/management and price.

SAIC first argued that DIA failed properly to evaluate CSC’s proposed use of personnel without security clearances. The GAO agreed with SAIC that the contracting officer did not have enough information from CSC’s technical/management proposal rationally to assess the impact of CSC’s using uncleared personnel.  GAO sustained the protest on this ground.

Second, SAIC argued that DIA improperly failed to conduct a price realism analysis.   GAO agreed that the solicitation implicitly required DIA to determine whether offerors’ fixed prices were so low as to reflect a lack of understanding of the requirements.  GAO found that DIA lacked the information from CSC’s proposal to determine whether CSC’s savings from the use of large numbers of uncleared personnel reflected a lack of understanding of the agency’s requirements.  GAO sustained the protest on this ground, too.

The GAO, however, did not accept all of SAIC’s arguments.  SAIC was perturbed because the award price was far below DIA’s internal estimated price range.  SAIC contended that the solicitation had failed accurately to reflect the true scope of the agency’s requirements.  The GAO disagreed, opining that the agency was not bound to accept a price within its internal estimated range, and that nothing precluded offerors from proposing lower prices.

Sustaining the protest, GAO instructed DIA to reevaluate proposals, consider all of the evaluation criteria, document its evaluation, and provide a new price/technical tradeoff analysis.  Science Applications International Corporation, B-407105, November 1, 2012.


PRACTICE TIP: A frequent reason for protests being sustained is the agency’s failure to have enough information from an offeror rationally to conduct or document a necessary part of the evaluation.


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