WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Is there hope for Alliant 2 losers?

There are always two questions to ask whenever there is a big contract award such as Friday’s Alliant 2 full-and-open award from the General Services Administration.

They boil down to who made the contract and who didn’t. I’m looking at who didn’t make and what that might mean.

Some notable incumbents not on the $50 billion Alliant 2 full-and-open track are L3 Technologies, Alion Science and Technology, Kratos Defense, LGS Innovations, Macaulay-Brown, Tetra Tech and Vistronix.

L3’s absence is the easiest to explain. They didn’t bid. They sold the National Security Solutions business to CACI International last year and with it went the Alliant 1 contract. CACI kept the contract and has won a spot on Alliant 2.

A Macaulay-Brown executive told me the company was disappointed that it didn’t retain its spot. They are currently exploring options, he said.

So far the others have not responded to requests for comment. I wasn't able to confirm whether they bid and and lost or declined to win.

But Macaulay-Brown isn’t alone in being disappointed. GSA says that 170 companies submitted bids. That’s a lot of companies that wanted to get on the contract and didn’t.

All of the companies have already been debriefed and GSA is still in the window when companies can filed bid protests. That generally runs about 10 days after the debriefing.

During the debriefing, GSA went over the individual proposals and the process to explain why a company wasn’t picked, Bill Zielinski, GSA's deputy assistant commissioner for IT category management operations, said during a press briefing Monday.

He declined to speculate whether he thought any protests would be filed.

But the losing bidders may have an uphill battle with a protest. GAO upheld GSA’s evaluation criteria and its general approach to the contract when several companies filed pre-award protests.

In looking at that earlier decision, it will be difficult to challenge GSA’s decision. Companies would have to attack how GSA applied the evaluation criteria because GSA relied on a self-assessment where bidders assigned themselves points and documentation to support those points.

There isn’t much room there for a protest.

Alliant 2 may be as bulletproof a contract as you can have short of awarding contracts to all bidders.

We should know by the first week of December whether my assessment is correct.

Meanwhile, GSA is still working on the $15 billion Alliant 2 Small Business track and expects awards there by the end of December.

For the companies that didn’t make it onto Alliant 2, their next best hope might be to use an on-ramp later in the process to get on contract. But that likely will be a few years down the road.

A quicker route might be to partner with one of the companies that hold a prime contract, including some of the smaller businesses. They would be the prime but you might still be able to hang onto to your customer.

The other alternative is to move your customer to another contract. Companies have had varying degrees of success with that approach. It will really depend on how much your customer wants to keep you.

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

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