Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: New Tech Solutions, Inc.
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest challenging agency’s evaluation of proposals and selection decision is denied where the record shows that the agency’s evaluation and selection of awardees was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation
General Counsel PC Highlight:
New Tech Solutions, Inc. protested the award to NCS Technologies Incorporated and Wildflower International, Ltd. of contracts by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for computer hardware. The RFP sought prices for six different categories of equipment, and indicated that the agency might make multiple awards by product category if doing so offered the best value to the government.
The GAO found that none of New Tech’s arguments presented a basis to object to the agency’s source selection decisions. As an example, it rejected New Tech’s argument that award of the ruggedized laptop to NCS was unreasonable because NCS only offered a “semi-ruggedized” laptop. The GAO noted that the RFP did not defined “ruggedized,” but rather identified certain minimum specifications the proposed laptop must satisfy. The GAO also found that New Tech had provided no support for its argument that the agency’s cost/technical tradeoff decisions were unreasonable.
All offerors, whether preparing a proposal or contemplating a bid protest after not receiving the award, should focus on the required specifications in the RFP, rather than the terms used. Particularly where the terms are not specifically defined, disappointed offerors should focus their protest on whether the awardee’s proposal conforms to the RFP’s detailed specifications, not, as in this case for instance, on whether the item is “semi-ruggedized” rather than “ruggedized.”