Link: GAO Decision
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Protest that agency performed an unreasonable cost realism analysis is denied where agency reasonably concluded that the awardee could hire qualified personnel at its proposed labor rates.
- Protest that agency unreasonably assigned protester an acceptable technical rating and awardee an outstanding rating is denied where the agency reasonably determined that the awardee, unlike the protester, proposed a detailed approach to accomplishing all of the solicitation requirements, as well as innovations and resources to better meet the needs of the agency and the personnel it serves.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) protested the issuance to Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Inc. of a task order for information technology services and systems support (ITSS) for the Navy Personnel Command. The solicitation was issued to holders of SeaPort-Enhanced multiple award contracts, and award was to be made on a best value basis, with costs evaluated on the basis of cost realism. Award was made to Lockheed based on the evaluation of its proposal as having the highest technical rating as well as the lowest evaluated cost. SAIC objected to both the agency’s technical evaluation as well as the cost realism evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s proposal.
The GAO found the agency’s cost realism evaluation to be unobjectionable. It rejected the assumption of SAIC that any proposed direct labor rates that were lower than SAIC’s, as the incumbent, must be unrealistic. It pointed out that the agency conducted a reasonable evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s rates, contacting the DCAA for information on the direct labor rates of Lockheed Martin and its proposed subcontractors, as well as asking for explanation by Lockheed Martin as to how it develops its rates. The GAO then found no reason to question the agency’s technical evaluation. It noted that the agency’s concern that SAIC did not provide a detailed approach to accomplishing the requirements and did not describe in its proposal any new innovations, instead indicating that it would continue to utilize the same approach it was currently using as the incumbent. The GAO also pointed out that SAIC had not refuted the agency’s conclusion that Lockheed Martin had proposed a thorough approach which offered several innovative approaches to satisfying the requirements.
Incumbent contractors seeking award of a follow-on contract should not expect to receive higher ratings on evaluation factors simply due to their status as incumbents and their satisfactory performance on the current contract. Offerors should not rely solely on their incumbency to provide a favorable proposal evaluation, but should also ensure that their proposal details how they intend to continue performance in more than a satisfactory manner. Incumbent contractors should consider whether there are any innovations they can offer to improve upon their satisfactory performance of the contract to date.