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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Small or large business contract question at heart of bid protest

There is a tension in the market between what should and should not be a small business contract.

Two protests before the Government Accountability Office right now seem to highlight that tension.

In one case, the Federal Acquisition Services Alliant joint venture is complaining that the Defense Manpower Data Center is converting a small business contract held by FASA into a full-and-open competition.

The company is arguing that shifting the work from a small business to a large is improper.

This contract is still in the early stages. The solicitation has been released but proposals have not been submitted yet.

FASA filed its protest on April 24 and a decision is due Aug. 2.

It will be interesting to watch this one and what kinds of issues are raised. I’m most interested in seeing the agency’s rationale for the shift. Did the scope change? What is the agency looking for that a small business can’t provide?

A second protest doesn’t directly address small business issues but is an example of how agencies shift work from large to small and the reverse.

Constellation West has filed a protest over a $94 million Air Force award that went to Cyber Systems & Services Solutions for cybersecurity work. The Defense Cyber Realization and Integrated Operational Support contract was awarded in early April. Both companies are small businesses so no one is complaining about that.

But what caught my eye was that Deltek data shows the incumbent as Engility, of course a large business.

The Air Force shifted the work for DCRIOS from a full-and-open contract to a set aside for service-disabled, veteran owned small businesses.

Because of that shift, Engility couldn’t bid as a prime but could be on one of the teams led by a small business. I have not determined whether or not it has done that.

Constellation West is challenging the award decision, not the fact that the contract is a set-aside.

The company filed its protest on April 24 and a decision is due by Aug. 2.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 25, 2018 at 1:21 PM


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