Army tries to make amends with ITES2-S protesters

The Army is looking to settle with the five companies that successfully protested awards made under the IT Enterprise Solutions-2 Services contract.

An Army Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems spokesman said the settlement, which he would not provide specifics on, would benefit the Army instead of reopening the contract, as the Government Accountability Office had advised in their decision.

The five companies?BAE Systems North America Inc. of Rockville, Md.; Multimax Inc. of Largo, Md.; NCI Information Systems Inc. of Reston, Va.; Northrop Grumman Corp.; and Pragmatics Inc. of McLean, Va.? protested the $20 billion multiple-award contract to GAO, claiming improper technical cost evaluations. Earlier this month, the watchdog agency sided with the protesters and ordered the Army to take corrective action.

"Army/PEO-EIS was very disappointed in GAO's decision and recommendation," the spokesman said. "The corrective action recommended is costly to implement (both for the Army and the offerors) and entails months of additional delay."

The spokesman said a settlement would give the Army access to a "much needed ordering vehicle immediately ?" and "if additional awards are made, it would increase the potential for task order competition."

An industry source said the Army will let the five companies that protested its decision join the original 11 winners.

The source said the service gave the five companies the choice of receiving a contract award or having the Army pay their bid and proposal costs and legal fees for the protest. And all five decided to be a part of the award.

The payout from the Army would have been about $1 million per company, the source estimated.

"Letting us back in the procurement is a no-cost issue for them," one source said. "It does enhance competition as well. And the number of companies will drop because of acquisitions over the next year. There are probably five companies that are actively looking to be acquired."

Jason Miller is assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Government Computer News.

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