Continuing lessons from the Vencore-InfoZen protest

Vencore and InfoZen are locked in a back-and-forth battle for a DHS contract, and their fight continues to offer insights into what's wrong with today's market.

I wrote a few days ago about what the protest battle between Vencore and InfoZen says about the state of procurement and the government market.

The fight involves the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Threat Assessment and Credentialing system contract where InfoZen was the incumbent. But InfoZen lost to QinetiQ North America on the recompete. That was in 2013. InfoZen protested, and the contract was pulled back.

After DHS re-evaluated the bids, InfoZen won the contract in November, and QinetiQ, now known as Vencore, filed its protest.

I made the case that the back-and-forth battle over the $212 million contract represents a lot of the conditions that make today’s market so tough: hyper-competitive, a customer stretched too thin and incumbents under pressure.

Now, in the face of Vencore’s protest, DHS has again pulled back the award to consider issues raised in the Vencore protest.

The development isn’t surprising and again reinforces the dysfunction that so many procurements face.

DHS will likely clean up its act and award the contract for a third time. There will be another protest, but this time, DHS will fight it through to the end. The Government Accountability Office will likely side with DHS, and it will be over.

In the meantime, it’ll have been years – wasted years – since the first attempt at making an award under this contract.

It would be one thing if this was an isolated case, but it isn’t. There are many other examples, and we will continue to see those until there are significant improvement in how the government manages its procurements.

NEXT STORY: Contractors face hiring crunch

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