What SRA's protest track record says about today's market
SRA International is fighting for another lost contract. This time, it’s a Transportation Security Administration contract for computer security.
This is the eighth bid protest SRA has been involved with in the last year or so, and its record says more about the state of procurement than it does about one company’s success or failings.
In the current fight, SRA is trying to protect an incumbent contract it has with TSA. The company has held the Security Operations Center Computer Network Defense contract since July 2009, and it has been worth about $93 million to the company, according to Deltek’s contract database.
During the recompete for the contract, Secure Mission Solutions took it from SRA, and it is now worth an estimated $88 million.
SRA filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office on Oct. 9. A decision is expected by Jan. 20.
Not counting the current protest, SRA has been involved in seven other bid protests, and looking at those protests and their results says a lot about the state of procurement in the federal market.
Two protests were dismissed, which means the agency took some sort of corrective action. One protest of a DISA contract was dismissed in late September, and the outcome of the corrective action isn’t known yet.
The other dismissal involved GSA’s $60 billion OASIS contract. SRA was one of over 50 protesters who didn’t get spots on the contract when it was first awarded. In its corrective action, GSA added SRA and many of the other protestors to the contract.
SRA won a protest of a NASA contract when GAO recommended that the agency re-evaluate bids. SRA was subsequently added to the $26 million, multiple-award contract for executive leadership and organizational development.
The company also prevailed in a back and forth fight with Science Applications International Corp. SAIC bested SRA in a competition for a Military Sealift Command contract, where SRA was the incumbent.
SRA protested, and GAO ruled in their favor; the command then awarded the contract to SRA. SAIC filed its own protest after that award decision, but GAO ruled against SAIC.
SRA has had three protests denied, including the protest of a lucrative Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. contract that had been the company’s largest single contract.
The company lost a protest of a Health and Human Services cloud contract that went to InfoReliance.
SRA also was on the losing side of a protest of a contract award that went to Lockheed Martin to modernize FDA’s databases and applications for the FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs. Booz Allen Hamilton also protested the award to Lockheed and lost.
Let’s think about those results: The company has lost three protests, won three and might be the winner of another, depending on the outcome of the corrective action. I’d call that a 50-50 record. In baseball, you’d be the greatest hitter of all time.
When you look at that sort of success, you can’t really complain about a company filing a bid protest, especially if 50 percent of the time, the outcome is in your favor.
if agencies can only successfully defend award decisions 50 percent of the time, then I think more of the problem lies with government and not industry.
If SRA’s success with bid protests is typical, then it is obvious that there are too many poorly designed procurements, too many unclear requirements, and too many award decisions that can’t stand up to scrutiny.
So, don’t blame contractors for so many bid protests. Look at the other side of the table.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM