Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Threat Management Group (TMG) based on the award of a contract to R3 Strategic Support Group, Inc., under a request for proposals, issued by the Department of the Air Force for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) support services.
The RFP was issued as a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) set-aside, and contemplated the award of a fixed-price contract for a one-year base period and up to four one-year option periods. Technical approach considered three subfactors: project plan; staffing plan; and quality control plan.
TMG argued that R3 had an unfair competitive advantage where its project manager was at the time, the agency’s functional manager for EOD at Shaw Air Force Base. TMG argued that the individual had access to useful, non-public information. GAO found that the record showed that the agency performed a detailed investigation which resulted in a finding that R3 did not have an OCI, requiring disqualification from award. The agency conducted several interviews with the individual and the individual did not have access to proprietary information of TMG or its subcontractor. The agency also did a search of his computer, which confirmed that he did not have access to such information.
TMG also argued that R3 proposed inadequate staffing. However, GAO found that the RFP merely required that the offeror provide staffing that they thought would be adequate to accomplish the RFP’s requirements. The record showed that R3’s proposed staffing was in line both with the staffing proposed by other offerors and the incumbent contractor.
TMG finally argued that the agency misevaluated R3’s past performance. First, to the extent TMG asserted that R3’s contracts were not relevant because of their comparative size, the agency pointed out that the procurement was conducted as a SDVOSB set-aside with a size standard of $14 million, and as a result, it would be unreasonable for the agency to expect any of the offerors to submit references for prior work valued in excess of $14 million. The record also showed that neither R3 nor TMG had contracts that were directly comparable to the size and magnitude of the contract at issue. GAO concluded that the agency reasonably found R3’s past performance examples relevant, and appropriately considered R3’s past performance, in conjunction with the past performance of its principal subcontractor, in arriving at an overall past performance rating for R3 of substantial confidence.