Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Task orders
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: It is the offeror’s burden to submit a proposal that is adequately written and establishes the merits of its proposal, and if the offeror does not do so it runs the risk that elements and concepts of its technical approach not specifically identified and described in its proposal will not be considered.
Over the course of two years (2007 – 2008), nine companies were awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts (ID/IQs) to provide information management communications services for military installations across the country. At the time of the awards, each of the individual contracts “accepted” and incorporated some of the “elements and concepts” from each awardee’s technical proposal that were based on particular strengths found in each proposal. In conjunction with these ID/IQs, the Army issued a task order proposal request (TOPR) for information management communications services for Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, a task order that was eventually issued to Cordev, Inc. A&T Systems, Inc. protested this issuance.
The award was to be made based on a best-value determination considering technical merit and price, where technical merit was significantly more important than price. A&T was the lowest-priced bid, but received a technical rating of “acceptable,” while Cordev received a higher rating of “good” but was higher priced. The source selection official determined that the strengths in Cordev’s proposal were enough to warrant paying the cost premium over A&T’s proposal. A&T protested this decision, alleging that the Army’s evaluation did not recognize the strengths incorporated in its ID/IQ contract, which it asserts obligated the Army to attribute the same strengths in its evaluation of A&T’s proposal for the TOPR.
While GAO acknowledged that A&T was obligated under the ID/IQ contract to provide the elements and concepts that were accepted and incorporated into its contract, there was nothing in the ID/IQ that obligated the Army to consider those elements and concepts to be specific strengths in evaluating proposals submitted in response to TOPRs. The burden was thus on A&T to submit a proposal that was adequately written and establishes its merits. Based on its determination that A&T did not successfully accomplish this, GAO concluded that the Army’s evaluation of A&T’s proposal was reasonable and in accord with the TOPR, and denied the protest.