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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

CACI puts up a fight for $500M NASA contract

Science Applications International Corp. might be the incumbent, but CACI International apparently thinks they are the better prime and has filed a bid protest over a NASA contract that SAIC recently won.

SAIC has held the contract to support the NASA Enterprise Applications Competency Center since 2010, and it recently won the recompete known as the Enterprise Applications Service Technologies 2 contract, worth $485 million over eight years.

As the prime, SAIC operates the center, which is based at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The center provides the services to operate business and mission-support platforms, applications and infrastructure across all of the NASA’s centers, according to the agency.

NASA announced the award on Jan. 6, and on Jan. 15, CACI filed its protest. A decision from the Government Accountability Office is expected by April 25.

I think this competition is a great example of the conditions in today’s market. Companies are pursuing dual strategies – hang onto to your incumbent contracts and take market share from others, which means you have to beat incumbents.

So, this is an important win for SAIC because it retains a legacy contractor. They put together a large team, which includes just one large business – Accenture Federal and several small businesses. See Mark Hoover’s earlier story for the entire list.

For CACI, this is the kind of large, long-term contract that the company has been setting its sights on. This would likely be one of its larger civilian contracts if it prevails with the protest and ultimately wins the contract.

I can’t help but think that five or so years ago, CACI wouldn’t challenge this award. Losing to an incumbent was almost expected.

But now, with these kind of large opportunities becoming rarer, companies almost have an obligation to file a protest if they feel they were at least as good as the incumbent.

And of course, who knows what CACI learned during the debriefing to give them the confidence to pursue a bid protest to unseat an incumbent. If NASA made a mistake, we’ll likely see a corrective action in the next 30 days.

If not, then it’ll be up to GAO to decide.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 20, 2016 at 9:29 AM

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