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ManTech gets second chance at visa vetting contract

ManTech International will get another shot at a $113 million visa vetting contract with Homeland Security Department after the Government Accountability Office found that DHS didn’t evaluate pricing equally between ManTech and a competitor.

ManTech’s bid was dinged by DHS because it didn’t propose retention techniques for its cleared personnel. General Dynamics IT also didn’t propose any retention techniques, but DHS didn’t penalize them in their evaluation.

GDIT is the incumbent on the work through its April acquisition of CSRA.

Both companies are competing for a five-year contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide operations support for the Visa Security Program and the Counterterrorism and Criminal Exploitation Unit. Both are part of the agency’s visa lifecycle vetting initiative.

Technically a blanket purchase agreement, the contract was competed on a best-value tradeoff basis with consideration for corporate experience, key personnel, staffing approach and price.

ManTech bid $111.8 million and GDIT bid $113.1 million. But DHS picked GDIT because they found two weaknesses under the staffing approach in ManTech’s proposal.

Interestingly, GAO said it was reasonable to find weaknesses in ManTech’s staffing approach because the company didn’t specifically say how it would retain cleared personnel as the solicitation requested. Instead, ManTech described how it would try to retain both uncleared and cleared personnel.

Where DHS ran into trouble was because GDIT had its own problems in this area. While they had a retention program for cleared personnel, that program was focused on junior analysts.

“We fail to see how the information in ManTech’s quotation supports a weakness while the information contained in [GDIT’s] quotation does not,” GAO wrote in its decision.

In other words, both ManTech and GDIT should be marked as a weakness.

ManTech made other arguments around the importance of pricing but GAO didn’t agree and ruled against the company on those points.

But that dioesn't really matter, because GAO agreed that the unequal evaluation of the staffing approach was enough to show prejudice against ManTech.

GAO wants DHS to re-evaluate the staffing approach factor and make a new source selection decision. They also want DHS to reimburse ManTech for the cost of the protest.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Dec 05, 2018 at 12:40 PM


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