Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: AIS Engineering, Inc.
Agency: Department of Defense
Disposition: Protest Denied in part, Dismissed in part.
Protester’s proposal was reasonably found to be unacceptable where it was evaluated as materially failing to satisfy stated performance and capability requirements.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
AIS Engineering, Inc. protested the award to Ultisat, Inc. of a contract for a digital, internet protocol (IP)-based network that would connect various remote detection facilities, geophysical locations and service points with the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC). The agency conducted five rounds of discussions, issuing written evaluation notices (ENs) identifying deficiencies, uncertainties, weaknesses, significant weaknesses or adverse past performance information in the proposals. The agency requested final proposal revisions (FPRs), specifically instructing offerors to include any changes that occurred as a result of their responses to the ENs. After the evaluation of EN responses, AIS’s proposal changed to acceptable overall; after the evaluation of its FPR, it was considered unacceptable.
The GAO first dismissed AIS’s claim that the agency violated the Procurement Integrity Act by improperly releasing a draft consensus report of AIS’s evaluation on a publicly accessible website, pointing out that AIS failed to raise the issue with the contracting agency within 14 days of learning of the basis of its allegation. The GAO then found reasonable the agency’s assignment of deficiencies to AIS’s FPR which rendered the proposal unacceptable; the GAO therefore did not address the remainder of AIS’s arguments. The GAO found without merit AIS’s argument that the agency should have considered AIS’s EN responses in evaluating its FPR.
When the agency gives offerors the ability to address weaknesses and deficiencies in their proposals through rounds of discussions, offerors must ensure that they rectify the identified shortcomings and revise their proposal accordingly. Because the agency will rely on final revised proposals as superseding prior offers, failure to incorporate changes discussed in the ENs will result in the assignment of weaknesses to the FRP.