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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Troubles dog VA software development contract

Third time might or might not be the charm for a Veterans Affairs contract for software development.

Over the past year, Camber Corp. has won the contract three times. And three times Kforce Government Solutions has filed a protest. The first protest was filed in March 2015.

The first two protests resulted in VA taking a corrective action, which pulled the award away from Camber. But after each protest, Camber won the contract again.

Kforce apparently is claiming that Camber has an organizational conflict of interest that VA isn’t properly accounting for in its evaluation.

The latest protest was filed March 10 and is still pending. A decision from the Government Accountability Office is expected by June 20 – unless there is another corrective action.

These are the kinds of multiple rounds of awards and protests that have to be a constant source of frustration for both winners and protesters.

One round of corrective actions is probably tolerable, but two? And, in this case, possibly three.

The other thing that stands out to me about this contract is that it is relatively small at $33.6 million. It also was competed via the GSA schedule.

So, it isn’t like VA is starting from scratch. The baseline is set ,which should free them to focus on the details of this particular procurement and these bidders.

Instead, they keep missing something, and it isn’t GAO telling them they did something wrong. VA has pulled the award twice after seeing Kforce’s bid protest and realizing, oh yeah, we made a mistake.

Maybe they’ve addressed whatever is wrong this time and if they believe that it’ll be left to GAO to decide. If GAO agrees with VA, Camber can get to work. But if they side with Kforce, we’ll likely be looking at a fourth round of evaluations and an award decision.

Even the best case scenario looks like at least a year and a half from when VA made the first award, and that is just too long.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 15, 2016 at 9:28 AM

Reader Comments

Tue, Mar 15, 2016

This story is best told by looking at IBM--quality of its program mgt, its personnel, its quality management, etc. Then look its place in the federal prof. services industry (never a large, top player, and rapidly declining). People with a stake in VA's performance can only blame government employees or the Congressionally passed budget up to a point. Then, you gotta look at the contractor(s). This particular troubled program is just a few Trump rallies away from being a much more public issue.

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