Protest of $472M VA Infrastructure Operations Services Support (IOSS) task denied

Updated June 26, 2018

“DIGEST

  1. Protest is dismissed where a challenge to the solicitation’s past performance evaluation methodology, and agency’s clarification of the methodology issued prior to the proposal due date, was not filed until after the agency had received proposals, completed its evaluation, and issued the task order.
  1. Protest challenging agency’s evaluation of protester’s technical proposal and selection decision is denied where the record shows that the evaluation and selection decision were reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.”

“DECISION

Intelligent Waves LLC, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) of Reston, Virginia, protests the issuance of a task order to Systems Made Simple, Inc. (SMS), of Vienna, Virginia under request for task execution plan (RTEP) No. T4NG-0294, issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for infrastructure operations services support.  The protester challenges the past performance evaluation methodology, the evaluation of its proposal, and the selection decision.

We dismiss the protest in part, and deny it in part.” The full document can be found here.

UPDATE: $472M VA IOSS protest – A 12-page decision document outlining the rationale used for the dismissal/denial of the challenges put forth on a recent $472M task award to Leidos to provide the VA’s Information Technology Operations and Services Infrastructure Operations group with a wide range of services and solutions that include data center operations, security, architecture, applications management, service desk support and command center has been released. (The document can be found here.)

The protest put forth by Intelligent Waves challenged and shed light on a number of key areas, to include the timing required to challenge a set-aside decision and how the VA will score Veteran employment.

Expect T4NG Primes to be reading this closely as they evaluate how this might impact future actions.


Update: June 13, 2018

UPDATE: GAO has officially denied this protest which challenged a recent $472M task award to Leidos to provide the VA’s Information Technology Operations and Services Infrastructure Operations group with a wide range of services and solutions that include data center operations, security, architecture, applications management, service desk support and command center support.

Details as to the rationale for the denial and the specific grounds for the protest put forth by Intelligent Waves remain limited at this time. There is a great deal of interest in this protest, not just because of the size of the task, but because it is understood to have challenged the VA on a number of fundamental decisions, to include some recent changes in how VA scores and rewards those firms who focus on Veterans Employment and on how far the “rule of two” extends. 

A final redacted version of the decision has not been released yet, but it is expected to be posted in the near future. We will share here when it is made available.


Update May 14, 2018

“… We issued this Opinion under seal on April 13, 2018, and invited counsel to propose redactions prior to its publication. Neither party requested any redactions. The April 13, 2018 Opinion is hereby reissued for publication, unsealed, with no alterations. mandatory stay on further contract action in such circumstances until the Government Accounting Office (“GAO”) issues a ruling on the protest. However, CICA allows government agencies to override the stay when they can make a showing that it would serve the “best interests” of the United States. Veterans Affairs issued an override in this case, claiming that the override would serve the Government’s interests.”

“Plaintiff sued for a declaration that the agency’s override of the stay was arbitrary and capricious and therefore in violation of law. It also petitioned for a preliminary injunction. It became clear during a hearing on April 4, 2018, that the Department of Veterans Affairs did not have appropriate justification for issuing the override. As defendant has not made a sufficient showing in support of the agency’s decision to override, we find that the override decision was arbitrary and capricious. The automatic stay is reinstated…” Read the full COFC document here.

UPDATE: Publicly released last week, this decision highlights the rationale used by the Court of Federal Claims as they sided with the plaintiff on a stay, overriding a decision by VA they deemed arbitrary and capricious and therefore in violation of law. This will not be news to anyone close to the action and few details were included here about the grounds for the actual protest, but we share the 7-page decision above for those who care and may be able to glean something out of this. 

The due date for resolution remains late June according to GAO. 


Update: April 23, 2018

UPDATE: After having a Court of Federal Claims Judge issue a stop work order against the IOSS contract as a result of the ongoing GAO protest action, the VA has awarded a 6-month $77M bridge contract that will reinstate the incumbent contractor deemed as essential to Veterans’ health and safety until the protest is resolved.

The official notice indicates that on March 6, 2017 a T4NG task order was awarded to SMS (Leidos) which was protested on March 20, 2018, triggering an automatic stay. VA decided to override the stay in the “best interest” of the Government and this action was challenged in the Court of Federal Claims who subsequently denied VA’s override.

The pending GAO protest is expected to be resolved by the end of June 2018 but as “a break in service for the tasks under IOSS would be detrimental to Veterans” VA has issued a bridge contract to cover two months plus two, two-month option periods, each valued at roughly $25M.

SMS (Leidos) is the incumbent on the contract and is believed to be the “only source capable of satisfying VA’s IOSS requirements in the required timeframe.”

Read more here.


Posted March 22, 2018

G2X TAKE: At least one of the bidders on this $472M task awarded earlier this month to provide the VA’s Information Technology Operations and Services Infrastructure Operations group with a wide range of services and solutions that include data center operations, security, architecture, applications management, service desk support and command center support was not content with the result.

A protest has been filed with GAO by Intelligent Waves. Details as to the grounds of the challenge have not been revealed at this time. The current listed due date for resolution is June 28, 2018. More information will be provided as it is made available.

This award was competed on T4NG with 5 overall bidders. Additional information about the award to Leidos can be found here.

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