No debrief required for schedule holders, judge rules

U.S. Court of Federal Claims says schedules don't fall under 2008 defense act

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently ruled that companies with a General Services Administration schedule contract are not entitled to a debriefing from an agency if they lose a bid for a task order.

In the fiscal 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress sought to improve competition for task and delivery orders worth more than $5 million by including a provision for mandatory post-award debriefings for companies that are not chosen for the work.

Judge Eric Bruggink ruled on Aug. 16 that a debriefing is mandatory only if the task order is subject to regulations in the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. As distinct acquisition processes, FASA and GSA’s Federal Supply Schedule fall under different parts of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and are exempt from each other’s regulations, Bruggink wrote in his ruling.

In the defense authorization act, Congress was referring to task orders that fall under FASA regulations, he added.

Nevertheless, unsuccessful bidders under the schedules program may ask for and receive informal debriefing sessions from an agency, the judge wrote.

In the case in question, Navarro Research and Engineering Inc. had provided environmental consulting services and operations assistance to an Energy Department facility but lost a subsequent contract for similar work. The company filed the suit with the claims court to halt the transition to the winning bidder until it received a debriefing, according to court documents.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Mon, Aug 30, 2010 Jaime Gracia Washington, DC

I find this ruling unfortunate, especially in light of the new GAO report on lack of competition and transparency in the federal acquisition process. Contracting Officers will more than likely use this excuse to not perform debriefs, which are vital to ensure competition and ensure fair processes where followed.

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