Vendors object to DISA's $12B Encore II award

Three losing bidders have protested the Defense Information Systems Agency's 10-year, $12.2 billion Encore II large-business contract, which it awarded late last month. All three vendors ? Computer Sciences Corp., Unisys and Northrop Grumman ? were on DISA's Encore I contract, but they failed to win a place on the follow-on contract.

The companies filed their protests Feb. 20 with the Government Accountability Office. Public versions of the CSC and Unisys protests state that DISA failed to evaluate the bids properly. Northrop Grumman has not made public a version of its protest claims.

DISA awarded the Encore II large-business contract Jan. 26 to Booz Allen Hamilton, CACI, EDS, Lockheed Martin, Science Applications International Corp. and SRA International. DISA intends to use the contract to support users as the agency transitions to a major DISA program, Net-Centric Enterprise Services. Under that program, the Defense Department is creating a departmentwide Web portal for access to knowledge databases and collaboration tools.

Unisys contends in its public filing that DISA told bidders that cost/price factors would be the least significant factors in its evaluation but that it awarded the contract to the six lowest-priced offerers anyway. Unisys further states that DISA gave all but one of 16 bidders the same past performance rating, thereby negating the weight that the agency had claimed it would give to past performance.

CSC challenged the Encore II award on a similar basis, contending that DISA effectively opened discussions with some bidders without first making a formal competitive range determination or conducting proper discussions.

Florence Olsen is the managing editor with Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Federal Computer Week.

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