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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

$500M TSA infrastructure contract faces pre-award protest

The Transportation Security Administration is trying to move forward with the recompete of the contract to operate its IT infrastructure.

It is a lucrative piece of work, estimated to be worth between $500 million and $1 billion.

The incumbent is CSRA, which won the contract in 2010, wresting it away from Unisys Corp., which won the original contract and built TSA’s infrastructure when the agency was stood up in 2002.

The contract originally was known as IT Managed Services in 2002. It became the IT Infrastructure Program when the first recompete came along. For the third version, it is being called IT Management, Performance Analysis, and Collaborative Technologies, or IMPACT.

Despite the name changes, the contract appears to have retained its tradition of being a protest magnet.

Before CSRA finally captured and kept the contract, there were multiple rounds of protests between 2008 and 2010. Most of the protests involved Unisys, which filed a pre-award protest after it had been eliminated in a down select process. It also filed several protests after CSRA won the award. But other companies including General Dynamics, EDS Corp., and Northrop Grumman also filed protests at different times.

Today, IMPACT is in the source selection phase of the procurement. An award was expected sometime this month.

But in keeping with IMPACT’s tradition, CSRA – yes, the incumbent – has filed a protest asking the Government Accountability Office to force TSA to open discussions with bidders before an award is made.

According to a source, CSRA is arguing that TSA has amended the solicitation several times since receiving proposals, including changes to requirements. The agency has held discussions but is headed toward an award without giving companies a chance to submit revised proposals.

CSRA is asking the GAO to compel TSA to ask for revised proposals.

The contract has a large scope. It supports 55,000 users and more than 600 locations. There are 23,000 laptops and desktops to support as well as 665 physical servers and 539 virtual services. There are another 13,509 mobile devices, according to solicitation documents.

CSRA officials declined to comment for this blog. As long as the pre-award protest is active, TSA cannot make an award. It can continue to evaluate proposals, however.

I don’t know enough to predict what GAO will do. If it sides with CSRA, you can expect the award of IMPACT to be pushed off until 2018. CSRA will continue to support TSA through a bridge contract that expires in June 2018.

If it sides with TSA, we’ll likely see an award sometime before the end of the year. GAO has to give answer by mid-October.

But given this contract’s tradition of bid protests, don’t expect the story to end with an award.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 20, 2017 at 9:36 AM

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