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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

NetCents redo hit with wave of protests

Five protests have hit the troubled NetCents 2 Products contract, which was re-awarded on April 19 to eight companies a year after the Air Force tried to get the procure off the ground.

The new awards came a year after the Air Force made its first attempt at awarding the contract, then quickly pulling back after a flood of protests. The service re-evaluated bids and allowed companies to submit more information.

In the second round of awards, only four of the original nine winners won again, and only two of 14 protesters from a year ago won this time around.

Force3 Inc., which protested the awards last year, was the first out of the gate and filed a new protest on April 26. A decision is expected on Aug. 5.

On Monday, April 29, four more companies filed protests including Dell Federal Systems, MicroTech, M2 Technology and Sterling Computers. Decisions on those protests is expected by Aug. 7.

M2 probably has particular reason to be upset. A year ago they were among the winners of the contract before a slew of protests forced the Air Force to back away.

Dell, MicroTech and Sterling all were among the protesters last year.

Sources and commenters in the last week have been split on whether there will be a large number of protests this time and whether the Air Force can stand up to the scrutiny. One train of thought has been that the Air Force was very careful this time around, and that was from a losing bidder who decided not to protest.

I guess the number of protests doesn’t really matter; it’s whether the Air Force can defend its decision.

One comment that doesn’t bode well for the Air Force came from an executive on a losing team who said he didn’t understand how round 2 was different from round 1. “Nothing new in the debrief,” is what he told me.

With the protests, work under NetCents 2 Products cannot go forward. It has been over three years since the request for proposals was issued for the contract in February 2010.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 30, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Reader Comments

Wed, May 1, 2013 Jack M DC

This procurement is LPTA, that measn that everybody who qualifies has a shot at winning, if they are cheap enough. The LPTA is VERY hard to protest successfully, and if they buttoned up the process, which the people who have spoken about the second round have said they did, there should be no grounds for these protests and the losers should be told to go away and stop delaying this. There is no cost to filing a protest to the losers and the government suffers as a result, and those are our tax dollars at work, unfortunately.

Wed, May 1, 2013 Bill DC Metro

Nick, 3 years since the RFP; but the official Sources Sought request for NetCents 2 Products and Services was almost 6 years ago in 2007. Seriously, 6 years to conduct a continually flawed procurement, and one which has questionable value given the other similar GWACs already available. I used to believe the USAF had the best, most knowledgeable and dedicated acquisition force available in the government. But after fiascos like NetCents 2 (all lots), new Tankers, UniComm, ECSS, etc... is it any wonder that they are firmly in the sights of Sen. Coburn? How many government resources and contractor dollars have been wasted with these failed procurements? I guess I'm just a frustrated bidder who is tired of incompetently run acquisitions!

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