Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Request denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denies the request of the Department of the Navy for reconsideration of its decision in BAE Systems Technology Solutions and Services, Inc., B-405664; B-405664.2, Dec. 12, 2011, in which GAO sustained BAE’s protest against the award of a contract to L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC, under a request for proposals (RFP) for contractor logistics support services of certain trainer aircraft at multiple locations.
The Navy argued that GAO’s earlier decision contained errors of law that warrant reversal of that decision. First, the Navy raised the same arguments that it raised in the initial protest, specifically that because the RFP did not contemplate the evaluation of experience at the personnel level, it would have been inappropriate for it to have considered the experience of BAE’s personnel as opposed to its corporate or organizational level experience. GAO concluded that the argument was no more than a restatement of the same argument that it had considered–and rejected–during its original consideration of the protest.
Next, the Navy asserted that GAO’s decision required it to evaluate proposals using an unstated evaluation factor–personnel experience–that was not expressly included in the solicitation. The Navy argued that the consideration would result in the disparate treatment of the offerors because they were not all afforded an opportunity to provide personnel experience information. Similarly, the Navy maintained that GAO’s recommendation that the agency evaluate BAE’s (and, presumably, the other offerors’) personnel experience effectively substitutes GAO’s judgment for that of the agency on the question of what evaluation criteria to use in its acquisition. However, GAO dismissed these arguments as the contentions were not raised during the original protest, and the agency has not explained why it could not, or did not, raise these arguments earlier. GAO stated that the arguments could not provide a basis for it to reconsider the earlier decision. Additionally, inasmuch as GAO’s previous decision recommended that the agency reopen discussions with the offerors, any possible disparate treatment of the offerors stemming from this issue would have been avoided by the agency affording all offerors an express opportunity to present personnel experience information.