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Why General Dynamics' NGA protest fell short

General Dynamics fought hard for a $207.7 million IT support contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency contract.

But the bid protest decision against them shows just how high of a bar companies have to clear to have a successful protest.

In this case, General Dynamics' IT division filed a protest after Leidos won the NGA contract for a range of IT services.

General Dynamics argued that NGA made mistakes in how it evaluated costs, technical solutions and determined best-value.

According to the Government Accountability Office’s decision, the GDIT team ran into trouble early because portions of its price proposal were incomplete. Not only was pricing some areas was incomplete, but GAO said rationale was missing and that GDIT made some invalid assumptions.

In the course of discussions, NGA sent 24 “items for discussion” to GDIT in an effort to direct the company’s attention to the flaws. But NGA didn’t provide GDIT any feedback on the reasonableness of its proposed cost/price, according to GAO.

GDIT argued that NGA didn’t conduct “meaningful discussions about the pricing, which turned out to be significantly higher than Leidos’ bid of $207.7 million. By comparison, GDIT’s bid was $265.7 million.

The source selection process was tainted because of this and it impacted the agency’s ability to make a best value determination, GDIT claimed.

But GAO rejected GDIT’s arguments. GAO said the protest was about disagreement and dissatisfaction with NGA picking Leidos, plus “fails to establish that the agency’s judgments and determinations were unreasonable.”

That term “unreasonable” comes up a lot in bid protest decisions. Protesters need concrete complaints and examples of where an agency failed to follow a solicitation’s requirements.

Or they need to show how the solicitation’s requirements were unevenly applied.

In the case of GDIT, its incomplete pricing issue was a fatal flaw it couldn’t overcome.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 09, 2018 at 7:14 AM

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