Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: L-3 Services, Inc.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Disposition: Protest Denied.
1. Protest challenging agency’s cost realism evaluation of protester’s proposal is denied where the record demonstrates that the agency’s conclusions were reasonable.
2. Protest that contracting agency improperly evaluated offerors’ technical and cost proposals is denied where the record shows that the evaluations were reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criteria.
3. Where solicitation advised offerors that the agency did not intend to conduct discussions, there is no merit in protester’s assertion that discussions were required.
General Counsel PC:
L-3 Services, Inc. protested the award to TASC, Inc. of a contract to provide support services for selected software systems being developed for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center facility in Fairmount, West Virginia. The RFP sought to combine two former contracts for support services into one unified contract for independent verification and validation (IV&V) services, and indicated that award would be made without conducting discussions. The SSA accepted the findings of the SEB recommending TASC for award, noting several discriminators in TASC’s proposal. It noted TASC’s superiority in its management and communications approach, its transition plan, and its proposal for small business utilization; TASC also offered a significantly lower price than L-3.
The GAO first found the agency’s cost realism analysis to be reasonable, noting that the record showed that the agency properly considered both the proposed levels of effort and proposed rates in both offerors’ proposals. The SEB had reasonably concluded that TASC’s overall proposed cost was realistic, while still acknowledging that certain elements of its cost proposal created risk. The GAO then found that L-3 had merely disagreed with the agency’s judgment regarding its evaluation under the mission suitability factor, pointing out several examples where L-3 made arguments regarding the assessment of strengths and weaknesses that failed to show that the agency had been unreasonable. Finally, the GAO agreed with the agency’s argument that discussions were not necessary because all parties involved clearly had a common understanding of the scope of the contract.
Disappointed offerors must have specific grounds for protest; mere disagreement with the agency’s conclusions will be insufficient to sustain a protest. The GAO will generally reject arguments objecting to the evaluation of proposals so long as the agency has adequately documented its conclusions and those conclusions are reasonable in light of the stated evaluation criteria.