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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

GAO gives four bidders another shot at $7.5B DISA SETI contract

In a set of separate bid protests, the Government Accountability Office is giving four companies another shot at DISA’s $7.5 billion Systems Engineering Technology and Innovation contract.

Known as SETI, the contract is DISA’s vehicle for higher end and more innovative technology solutions. It was evaluated on a best-value criteria and is intended complement to Encore III, which was competed on lowest price, technically acceptable terms.

DISA made 14 awards in June and that was followed by four protests in July. All four companies -- Novetta, Technatomy, OGSystems and Solers Inc. -- found a sympathetic ear at GAO.

GAO made four separate decisions but released those rulings simultaneously. Each decision sustains parts of the protests and denies other pieces. Three of the decisions also dismiss parts of the decisions.

But the bottom line is that in each protest, GAO recommends that DISA re-evaluate the proposals. Not all re-evaluations are for the same thing, which likely explains why GAO issued separate decisions.

For example, GAO wants DISA to re-evaluate Technatomy’s prices. For OGSystems, the recommendation involves a re-evaluations of that company’s innovation factor and a new best-value tradeoff decision.

Novetta had issues with innovation and best-value trade-off but GAO also found fault with a weakness that DISA assigned to Novetta’s proposal under the problems statements factor.

With Solers, GAO also found problems with DISA's innovation factor and the best-valued trade-off.

As part of its recommendation, GAO told DISA to make new source selection decisions and consider all evaluation factors.

This is a short-term win for the protesters. But isn’t a slam dunk that they’ll join the 14 primes on SETI. DISA could just as likely conduct a new evaluation and better document their decision not to give them a spot on the contract. But that is a fight for another day.

All four decisions are lengthy by GAO standards, running from 17 pages to 28. I won’t rehash all the arguments for and against.

But here are a couple highlights that I’ll share.

The bidders were evaluated on five factors:

  • Factor 1: Innovation
  • Factor 2: Past Performance
  • Factor 3: Solutions to problem 1 and problem 2
  • Factor 4: Small business
  • Factor 5: Price

Here is an example of wide-ranging prices. Bids in the winning proposals ranged from a high of $269.6 million by Northrop Grumman to a low of $123.2 million from KeyW.

Subjective scores in the different factors also weren’t stellar for the most part.

IBM and Accenture received “Outstanding” ratings under innovation. Five other companies were either rated “Good” and seven were given “Acceptable."

Vencore (now Perspecta), Deloitte and Parsons all received “Outstanding” for the small business rating.

Harris and BAE received “Outsanding” for solving the problems.

Otherwise there were a lot of “Goods,” “Acceptables” and “Substantials” ratings. All of the substantial scores fell under the Past Performance factor.

Below are links to GAO's decisions to dive deeper:





Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 26, 2018 at 9:45 AM

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