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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

VA makes rare bid to overturn protest decision

There is a rather rare bid protest underway at the Government Accountability Office with an agency formally objecting to a GAO decision.

Veterans Affairs has filed for a reconsideration of a decision where GAO sided with ASM Research and against Booz Allen Hamilton.

A lot of the details are sketchy, but apparently Booz Allen won a task order under VA’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology contract known T4. The task order was for cloud services to support a VA project to provide mobile medical apps to veterans.

ASM Research filed its protest after Booz Allen won in September, and GAO reached its decision on Jan. 7 that VA needed to rethink the award.

With VA filing its own protest, the details of the GAO decision haven’t been made public yet, so I don’t know if GAO found something unique or unusual in how VA made its award decision.

I’ll be anxious to see what the decision says when it comes out. GAO rarely tells agency to award a contract to a specific company and generally recommends that the agency re-evaluate its award in light of the findings of the decision.

And 'recommend' is the operative word here. An agency can choose to ignore the recommendation, but that’s even rarer than an agency filing for reconsideration. GAO also reports to Congress which agencies chose not to follow their recommendations.

For the record, I reach out to Booz Allen and ASM Research (through their parent Accenture), but both declined to comment.

GAO decision on VA’s request for reconsideration is due April 25.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 21, 2016 at 9:29 AM

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