GAO sides with challenger on $70M DHA Network Engineering Support (NE&S) services award protest

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Updated March 12, 2019

“The TOR, which was released on August 15, 2018, contemplated the issuance of a task order under GSA’s Alliant (Small Business) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). The solicitation sought network sustainment and deployment support services for military health system medical treatment facilities both inside and outside the continental United States (CONUS and OCONUS) in support of the Defense Health Agency (DHA). TOR at 3. The TOR anticipated the award of a hybrid fixed-price/time-and-materials task order with a 1-year base period and four 1-year option periods.”

“DISCUSSION
The protester challenges multiple aspects of the agency’s evaluation and award decision. Regarding the past experience factor, AlliantCorps asserts that GSA adopted unreasonable and unstated evaluation criteria, failed to conduct a qualitative evaluation of vendors’ responses, unreasonably credited one of SBD’s joint venture members with past experience that it did not perform, and unreasonably waived the solicitation requirement that contract references have a completed CPARS evaluation. Regarding the technical approach factor, the protester argues that the agency unreasonably and disparately evaluated its TOR response in multiple areas, failed to evaluate responses in accordance with the stated evaluation criteria, and failed to question an alleged misrepresentation in SBD’s response regarding the availability of its proposed key personnel. The protester additionally contends that the agency failed to adequately document its evaluation. While we do not address every argument raised in the protests, we have reviewed each issue and, with the exception of those issues discussed herein, do not find any basis to sustain the protest.”

“… The protester challenges multiple areas of the agency’s past experience evaluation. As an initial matter, the protester argues that the agency engaged in a mechanical comparison of responses and did not meaningfully consider, and differentiate between, vendors’ past experience efforts. In this regard, for the evaluation of past experience, the agency compiled and compared the vendors’ experience by using 15 different data categories, e.g., the total funded dollar amount of all contract references, the number of contract references involving CONUS and OCONUS work, and the total number of network engineers and network specialists from each vendors’ contract references. The protester contends that the agency’s evaluation mechanically compared these numbers without meaningfully considering the underlying scope and complexity of the work performed…”

“DECISION – AlliantCorps, LLC, a small business located in San Antonio, Texas, protests the issuance of a task order to SBD Alliant, LLC, a small business located in Vienna, Virginia, under task order request (TOR) No. ID07180004, issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) for network sustainment and deployment support to the military health system both inside and outside the United States. The protester alleges that the agency unreasonably evaluated the TOR responses.
We sustain the protest in part and deny the protest in part.”

Read the full 14-page decision here.

G2X TAKE: The full 14-page decision document has been posted by GAO, shedding more light on the rationale used for sustaining the protest in part and recommended actions.


Updated March 1, 2019

G2X TAKE: The outstanding protest by AlliantCorps of this 5-year task handed out to Joint-Venture SBD Alliant to provide the Defense Health Agency with Network Engineering Support (NE&S) services, has been sustained.  

No details are available at this time regarding the grounds for the protest, the justification for the decision, nor any recommended actions put forth by GAO to remedy the issue but they will be shared here as they are made available. 


Posted January 4, 2019 

G2XTAKE: The protest by Advanced Alliant Solutions, one of two recent protests levied challenging the award of a 5-year task handed out to Joint-Venture SBD Alliant to provide the Defense Health Agency with Network Engineering Support (NE&S) services, has been dismissed. 

No details have been provided as to the grounds for the challenge at this time, nor the reason for the dismissal. As we have noted on numerous occasions, a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and often times only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process. More information will be provided here as it is made available.  

The protest by AlliantCorps remains open with a date for a decision no later than April 10, 2019. 

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