General Dynamics, others join protest of VA's $12B T4 contract

The Veterans Affairs Department's $12 billion T4 contract continues to attract protests, with three more filed in recent days.

Three additional protests have been filed with congressional auditors against the Veterans Affairs Department's $12 billion Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology procurement program.

That brings the total to 15 protests filed with the Government Accountability Office against the T4 contract, of which 11 protests have been denied, dismissed or withdrawn.

The three new protests were filed Aug. 8 by IBM Corp., General Dynamics Information Technology Inc., and Standard Communications Inc.

IBM previously had filed a protest with GAO on Aug. 2.

The Aug. 2 IBM protest and the three new protests are currently listed as “open” by GAO, within decisions due by November. The GAO attorney in charge of the four cases is Paul Jordan.

A fourth company, D&S Consultants, has filed protests because the VA excludedit from the competitive range, but GAO denied the protest. GAO said that D&S could not show that the labor rates the government estimated for the contract were unreasonable. VA said that D&S labor rates were too low to give the agency any confidence that the work could be performed.

D&S has now filed suit in the Court of Federal Claims., according to Federal News Radio.

The T4 program is considered one of the largest IT contract vehicles in government, and selected companies will work on integrating VA systems and modernizing the department’s IT infrastructure.

The VA was expected to award 15 contractors the opportunity to bid for task orders valued at up to $12 billion over five years under the program.

As of July 5, 14 of the contracts had been awarded, and the 15th was being held until resolution of a protest.

Seven of the T4 awards were to be made to veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.

Under the law, federal agencies must suspend activity on a particular contract if a protest is filed against that contract within 10 days of an award, but there are exceptions that allow work to continue.

While the VA initially suspended T4 contracting activity after IBM’s Aug. 2 protest, the VA subsequently decided it had an "urgent and compelling" need to continue with the contract instead of waiting for GAO to resolve the protests, VA spokeswoman Jo Schuda wrote in an e-mail, according to an Aug. 11 article by Federal News Radio.

Schuda also said in the article that VA has been awarding noncompetitive contracts to the T4 winners, which the agency is allowed to do.

Schuda did not respond to a request for comment.