Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Westar Aerospace & Defense Group, Inc., regarding the issuance of a task order to Aviation & Missile Solutions, LLC (AMS), under a task order request for quotations (TORFQ) issued by the Department of the Army, Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), under its Expedited Professional and Engineering Support Services (EXPRESS) Program, for technical lifecycle support services for Apache attack helicopter foreign military sales (FMS) operations of the International Apache Office.
The solicitation was issued to prime technical domain blanket purchase agreement (BPA) holders and anticipated the issuance of a fixed-price, level-of-effort task order for up to five years on a best value basis considering experience, functional approach, price, and socio-economic support. Offerors were required to be experienced with FMS rules and operations and have a basic knowledge of the Apache helicopter and/or other U.S. Army Aviation rotary-wing platforms. Under functional approach, the solicitation instructed offerors to provide a complete, clear, and accurate description of the proposed approach to accomplish each of the requirements, describe the role and efforts to be performed by proposed team members and subcontractors, and set forth a corresponding management approach to organize, direct and control performance.
Westar argued that the Army’s evaluation of the experience factor as satisfactory was unreasonable. According to Westar, the agency was required by the terms of the solicitation to treat its IA-407 experience as equal to that of a vendor with direct Apache helicopter support services experience. However, GAO found that the record supported the reasonableness of the agency’s finding that Westar’s quotation only reflected moderate experience with the PWS tasks through its FMS work with the IA-407 helicopter, and therefore did not warrant a higher than satisfactory rating. The IA-407 is a commercial aircraft that, although adapted for military use for certain FMS purchasers, lacks certain features found in the Apache helicopter.
Westar also challenged the weaknesses it received under the functional approach subfactor. However, GAO found the evaluation reasonable given Westar’s failure to provide an adequately detailed explanation of how it intended to use its personnel. The firm did not explain its minimal use of higher-level analysts, and, only generally presented its proposal of a two-team approach without providing detail about the personnel involved, their responsibilities, or the work to be performed by each team. The TORFQ set out requirements for a complete, clear, and accurate explanation of the vendor’s intended functional approach. Westar did not show that the agency’s determination that the firm’s relatively unknown approach, particularly regarding its lack of detail about its labor mix methodology, was unreasonable.