Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: CACI Dynamic Systems, Inc.
Agency: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Disposition: Protest Denied in part, Dismissed in part.
- Protest challenging agency’s evaluation of the protester’s and awardee’s proposals under a technical approach factor is denied where the evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criterion.
- Protester is not an interested party to challenge the evaluation of the awardee’s proposal under other technical evaluation factors and to challenge the agency’s cost realism evaluation, where, even accepting the protester’s arguments, another intervening offeror (whose proposal is not challenged) would be in line for award
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
CACI Dynamic Systems, Inc. protested the award to System High Corporation of a contract for security support services. The RFP indicated that the technical approach and personnel factors were equally important, and that both were more important than the past performance evaluation factor. Non-cost factors combined would be more important than cost, and small business subcontracting plans would be less important than cost. The proposals from System High, CACI, and a third offeror were found to be essentially equal under the non-cost factors, with System High’s technical proposal being slightly more desirable because it was a small business.
The GAO ignored CACI’s contention that System High lacked the size and experience to receive an exceptional rating for its management plan, noting that the RFP did not provide for consideration of an offeror’s size and that the agency had reasonably determined that System High’s proposal offered numerous strengths. It also disregarded CACI’s complaint that System High should not have been rated equal to CACI under the corporate support/facilities subfactor, finding the agency’s determination that both offerors satisfied, but did not exceed, the RFP requirements reasonably supported by the record. Finally, the GAO dismissed CACI’s challenges to System High’s technical proposal under the personnel and past performance factors, and the evaluation of both its and System High’s cost proposals. It found that CACI was not an interested party with respect to these claims because, even if its assertions were true, a third offeror (whose proposal was not challenged) stood in line for award if CACI’s claims were sustained.
Before initiating a bid protest, a disappointed offeror should carefully consider whether it qualifies as an interested party for purposes of maintaining the protest. If an offeror objects to the evaluation of the agency, it should make sure that it would be in line for award should the GAO agree that the agency’s evaluation was unreasonable. If the agency’s reevaluation according to the protestor’s arguments would result in a third party being the likely awardee, the GAO will dismiss the protest for failure to be an interested party unless the protestor includes grounds for protest against the next in line for the award.