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Lack of documentation nixes $200M Navy contract

A $200 million contract to provide the Navy with logistics support is back in the source selection phase after the Government Accountability Office said mistakes were made when an award was made last year.

GAO ruled in favor of M7 Aerospace LLC of San Antonio after it protested the Navy’s award to PAE Aviation and Technical Services. The PAE group does business as Defense Support Services or DS2.

The contract is for maintenance and logistics support for the Navy’s fleet of F-5 Adversary aircraft. The F-5 is used to emulate enemy aircraft in training exercises for Navy pilots.

The Navy apparently committed a cardinal sin in its selection of DS2: the agency didn’t document it, or if it did document it, it never provided GAO with that documentation.

While the Navy said that the contract was to be awarded on a best-value basis, it appears that the Navy said that the bidders were relatively even as far as being technically acceptable and then picked the company with the lowest bid.

But in describing the technical evaluation, GAO wrote: “Simply stated, there is no qualitative assessment or critical analysis of the relative merits of the offerors’ respective, differeing, technical approaches.”

The Navy merely provided GAO with descriptions of the difference between proposals but no discussion of their merits.

A footnote in the decision is particularly damning. GAO writes that the Navy submitted a statement from the technical evaluation team lead. The statement describes that analysis was done and the team concluded that the DS2 proposal would meet the RFP’s requirements.

“However, to the extent such an analysis was actually performed, it either was not documented, or not provided to our Office, and is not supported or corroborated in any way by information in the contemporaneous record,” GAO wrote.

GAO wants the Navy re-evaluate proposals and “prepare a detailed, comprehensive evaluation record” and then make a new source selection decision. In other words, do their job.

This doesn’t mean DS2 won’t ultimately win the contract, but the Navy just needs to be able to explain why.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 02, 2016 at 7:17 AM


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