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Nick Wakeman

Booz Allen prevails in second battle over $1B VA award

Booz Allen Hamilton has survived a second round of protest challenges to its nearly $1 billion IT modernization task order award from the Veterans Affairs Department.

Booz Allen first won the task order in October 2018, but Cognosante quickly protested the award. Cognosante took issue with the VA’s price reasonableness evaluation and claimed the agency used different standards when assigning strengths to the bidders’ technical proposals.

The Government Accountability Office ruled in Cognosante’s favor and sent the task order back to VA with the recommendation to take a second look at all of the bidders' proposed prices and re-evaluate Booz Allen’s and Cognosante technical proposals.

When the VA awarded the task order to Booz Allen for a second time, Cognosante again protested but this time was joined by Accenture and General Dynamics.

Again the arguments focused on how the technical assessments were conducted and that the VA overlooked benefits in the protesters’ proposals. The protests also challenged past performance assessments and the best-value tradeoff decision.

GAO has not released the written decision yet as it is sealed under a protective order, but the best value tradeoff decision might be an interesting point to learn more about once the decision is available.

In the first protest, Booz Allen’s bid was $206 million higher than Cognosante’s bid. Booz Allen's technical proposal also was rated “Outstanding” compared to Cognosante’s “Acceptable.”

We’ll have to wait for GAO to release its written decision, but indications are that Booz Allen again had the highest price and the highest technical evaluation. We’ll follow up once we see GAO’s analysis.

As for the task order, its value is $999.9 million and coves services such as cybersecurity, enterprise management framework, system and data migration, cloud computing, program management, strategy, enterprise architecture and planning support.

The VA is using the task order to modernize its IT systems through a consolidated procurement. The VA's IT operations and services directorate is managing the effort and oversees enterprise-level infrastructure engineering, systems implementation, production operations and IT service management for the department.

The task order was awarded through the VA’s Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation contract, known as T4NG.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Sep 09, 2019 at 11:17 AM


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