Sometimes no competition makes good sense

A recent GAO protest decision sheds some light on when a brand name requirement in a solicitation isn't such a bad idea, and why protesting the decision just seems silly.

I’ve never been a fan of when agencies dictate the brand name to bid; requiring a brand name squelches competition. That’s the prevailing argument.

But a recent Government Accountability Office denial of a protest by Desktop Alert over the brand name requirement for an AtHoc emergency notification system was a no brainer, even to me.

The contract in the dispute was only for one-month and just meant to act as a bridge for the Air Force until a competitively-competed contract could be put in place. The new contract apparently has been hit by several delays.

Because AtHoc is the software currently in use, it only makes sense that the Air Force keeps using the software. “It would be extremely difficult and costly” to move to another software platform until the new contract is in place, the Air Force argued.

Makes sense to me.

GAO agreed:

“In light of the anticipated competitive award and the associated delays in the award of that contract, the short duration of the requirement contemplated by the RFQ, and the potential disruption and costs associated with shifting to an entirely new software platform, we have no basis to conclude that the agency acted unreasonably in limiting the solicitation to the AtHoc brand-name software system.”

Seems like a frivolous protest to me.