Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Defense Logistics Agency
Disposition: Protests denied.
Keywords: Task Order Protest
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: GAO is authorized to hear protests of task orders that are issued under multiple-award contracts (or protests of the solicitations for those task orders) where the task order is valued in excess of $10 million, or where the protester asserts that the task order increases the scope, period, or maximum value of the contract under which the order is issued.
California Industrial Facilities Resources, Inc. d/b/a CAMSS Shelters (CAMSS) protests the issuance of a task order by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for tents and accessories pursuant to the agency’s multiple-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract for special operational logistical equipment. CAMSS also protests the terms of requests for quotations (RFQ) issued by DLA for additional tents and accessories under the ID/IQ contract.
Four ID/IQ contracts were awarded by DLA on the basis of full and open competition under a request for proposals (RFP) for special operational logistical equipment. The RFP informed offerors that the agency was soliciting proposals for tailored logistics packages for a full range of equipment for military commands and other authorized customers world-wide. Offerors were also informed that the “primary concept” of the contract would be to support U.S. special operations forces by providing all equipment necessary to perform their missions. The SOW identified 23 general categories of items and advised offerors that the contractor would be required to supply over 8,100 separate commercial items. The SOW identified nine federal supply classes as examples of some of the general categories of items to be ordered, but stated that the contract would not be limited to those supply classes. The RFP also included a “core list” of 391 items, identified by manufacturer’s part number or description, and advised that the list was representative of the items that could ordered under these contracts. The RFP also advised that the government reserved the right to bilaterally add new or replacement items by contract modification at prices to be negotiated. The RFP further advised that there could be a significant number of these additions. The four ID/IQ contracts were subsequently modified in 2009 to include tents.
U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) submitted purchase requests to DLA for tents and accessories. DLA also received requests from USFOR-A for tents for surgical facilities, medical supply warehouses, work spaces, and housing soldiers. DLA issued a task order RFQ to the four ID/IQ contractors for 300 tents and related accessories, and DLA received quotations. DLA issued a task order to one contractor for the tents and accessories, which CAMSS protested. DLA issued another four RFQs for additional tents and accessories, which CAMSS protested.
CAMSS, which does not hold a contract with DLA to provide operational logistical equipment, contends that the task order and subsequent RFQs exceed the scope of the original ID/IQ contract. The protester contends that the tents do not fall within the 23 identified categories of equipment, the nine federal supply classes of equipment, or the core list of items identified in this contract.
GAO is authorized to hear protests of task orders that are issued under multiple-award contracts (or protests of the solicitations for those task orders) where the task order is valued in excess of $10 million, or where the protester asserts that the task order increases the scope, period, or maximum value of the contract under which the order is issued. Task orders that are outside the scope of the underlying multiple-award contract are subject to the statutory requirement for full and open competition set forth in the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, absent a valid determination that the work is appropriate for procurement on a sole-source basis or with limited competition. In determining whether a task order is beyond the scope of the contract, GAO and the courts look to whether there is a material difference between the task order and that contract. Evidence of such a material difference is found by reviewing the circumstances attending the procurement that was conducted; examining any changes in the type of work, performance period, and costs between the contract as awarded and as modified by the task order; and considering whether the original contract solicitation adequately advised offerors of the potential for the type of task order issued. The overall inquiry is whether the task order is of a nature that potential offerors would reasonably have anticipated.
GAO finds that the task order and RFQs for tents and related accessories are within the broad scope of the ID/IQ contract for operational logistical equipment. The stated primary purpose of the contract is to provide all equipment necessary for special operations forces to perform their missions. In this regard, offerors were informed that contractors would be required to quickly supply over 8,100 items of equipment and that a significant number of items may be identified after contract award. The RFP identified, as examples, 23 broad categories of items, nine federal supply classes, and nearly 400 core items. Although the tents being procured here were not specifically identified in the contract’s original examples of equipment that could be ordered, we agree with DLA that the tents are within the broad types of survival gear and logistical and tactical equipment envisioned by the ID/IQ contract.
Although CAMSS disagrees with the agency that the tents fit within these identified categories of items that could be purchased, the protester has not identified any definition in the contract, or elsewhere, that limits these categories in the fashion argued by CAMSS. GAO agrees with the agency that potential offerors would reasonably have anticipated that the ID/IQ contract could require contractors to provide tents and related accessories necessary for special operations forces to accomplish their mission. The protests are denied.