Agency: General Services Administration
Disposition: Protest Sustained
Decided: May 14, 2018
Released: May 24, 2018
Keywords: Task Orders, Contract Modifications
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
A contract modification via a technical direction letter may not include tasks beyond the scope of a task order.
Summary of Facts
Alliant Solutions, LLC (Alliant) protests a modification of the assignment of work to Smartronix, Inc., (Smartronix) as beyond the scope of the task order. Both Alliant and Smartronix are holders of the GSA Alliant GWAC. In January of 2015, under the Alliant GWAC, the GSA issued a task order to Smartronix to obtain support for the Navy’s Rapid Response Project Office (RRPO) Rapid Response Technical Services (RRTS) Task Order. The objective of the task order is supporting “Command, Control, Communications, Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) information technology and information technologies advanced concept development and the analysis, testing, development, and integration of equipment, operations, and training for all aspects of support.” The task order limits technical direction letters (TDLs) in that they are not to require new deliverables.
In December of 2017, the GSA issued a TDL under Smartronix’s RRTS task order, seeking assistance in establishing operations in the cloud. The TDL had an individual performance period consisting of a 9-month base period and three one-month option periods. The value of the TDL was estimated at approximately $19.2 million. Also in December, Smartronix contacted Sabre, an Alliant joint venture member, about working on the TDL as a subcontractor. As a result, Alliant became aware of the TDL and filed a protest.
Basis of Protest
Alliant argues the task order seeks general cloud computing migration and operation services, while the RRTS task order is limited to support for the RRPO in support of ISR and Irregular Warfare. In light of the task order being beyond the scope, Alliant argues all Alliant contract holders should have been given the fair opportunity to be considered for the task.
Typically, the GAO does not consider protests alleging improper contract modification as the GAO believes contract modification, in general, is beyond their bid protest function. However, when a contract modification is beyond the scope of a contract or order, triggering applicable competition requirements, the GAO will review the facts to determine whether there is a material difference between the task order and the original order. This is accomplished by reviewing the circumstances of the original performance, as well as changes in the type of work, performance period, and costs between an order issued and as modified. The GAO also considers whether the original order sufficiently advised offerors of the potential for the type of change found in the modification, and whether the modification could have changed the field of competitors.
In contrasting the RRTS task order and the TDL, the differences are readily apparent. The TDL’s work involves supporting the migration to and operation of a cloud facility. RRTS’s scope of work on the subject of using the cloud was limited to providing research and analysis support for a cloud systems assessment. Overall, the work contemplated in the TDL is well beyond that contemplated in the RRTS task order. In fact, the TDL makes no reference to the RRPO and instead seeks support for the broader Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).
Because the TDL’s scope of work is broader than the RRTS task order, the protest is sustained.