Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Applied Physical Sciences Corporation
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Agency evaluation of proposals is unobjectionable where it is reasonable and consistent with solicitation evaluation criteria
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Applied Physical Sciences Corporation protested the award to Ocean Data Systems, LLC of a contract for the design and build of an Autonomous Undersea Vehicle (AUV) Low-Frequency Towed Array. Award was to be made on a best value basis, considering technical/management and price factors. Both Applied Physical and Ocean Data proposed both basic and enhanced versions of their towed array.
The GAO found no reason to question the agency’s evaluation of Ocean Data’s proposal under the technical approach factor, noting that merely disagreeing with the agency’s conclusions is insufficient to demonstrate that the conclusions were unreasonable. The GAO also found Applied Physical’s objection to the favorable evaluation of Ocean Data’s management plan, on the grounds that, as a newly formed business with a single employee, Ocean Data could not have provided an organizational plan that satisfied the RFP, to be without merit. Finally, the GAO rejected the claim that the agency essentially converted the procurement from a best value to lowest-price, technically acceptable basis for award.
In awards made on a best-value basis, offerors must remember that an agency may select a lower-rated, lower-priced proposal if it is in the best interests of the government. So long as the agency makes a rational decision consistent with the evaluation criteria, disappointed offerors will be unsuccessful should they elect to protest the selection.