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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Protest battle continues for $100M DHS contract

In August, the Government Accountability Office handed down a decision supporting protesters IBM and Presidio Network Solutions. They were objecting to a Homeland Security Department decision to award contracts to Leidos and Agilex.

GAO issued a split decision – Leidos’ award was proper, but the Agilex award needed to be re-evaluated or reopened for competition.

But a new competition doesn’t mean an automatic contract award for the protesters. In this case, Agilex [now part of Accenture] again won the $100 million contract for enterprise data center support.

Presidio has filed a fresh protest with GAO. IBM, the incumbent on the contract, has not yet filed a new protest, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that.

This is the second case we’ve seen in recent weeks where GAO sustained a protest and sent a contract back to the agency, and the agency makes a second award to the same winning contractor. And, of course, more protests are filed.

I can understand the frustration on both sides of this equation. If you file a protest, and GAO rules in your favor, then it’s reasonable to think you’ll end up with the contract.

On the other side, you’ve won a contract, had it taken away and then you win it a second time. And again, you are hit with bid protests. You’re probably thinking, what else can I do?

Meanwhile, the customer sits and waits.

There are no easy answers, and in a market as tight and competitive as today’s, I don’t think we’ll see protests decline. Everyone is fighting for as many contract dollars as they can reach.

You have to think that there must be ways to make the protest process more efficient.

In Presidio case, the protest decision is due in August, a year after the first protest decision and nearly 18 months after the first awards were made.

I don’t blame any company for filing a protest. They should fight for every dollar. But it is the length of time that entire process takes that is so troubling.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 04, 2015 at 9:32 AM

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