Early protests attack PACTS III solicitation

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Several small businesses are challenging aspects of how the Homeland Security Department is running the $8.4 billion professional services contract vehicle.

Within days of the proposal due date, protests began over the Homeland Security Department’s recompete of its professional services contract vehicle known as PACTS.

DHS will use the Program Management, Administrative, Clerical, and Technical Services III contract to continue acquiring that type of support from small businesses. PACTS III has multiple tracks and DHS expects to make up to eight awards in each track.

Proposals were due by the close of business April 12 and protests came into the Government Accountability Office between April 8 and 12.

For PACTS III, DHS divided the contract into three functional areas and each with its own solicitation number.

Three protests have been filed so far and largely object to the solicitation for functional area one for general profession services – IPAK Inc., Team Escalate and Competitive Innovations.

Team Escalate also filed protests in functional areas two and three, which respectively are for administrative support and management support.

The companies are challenging the methodology for evaluating small business set-asides and joint ventures. Team Escalate is also complaining about the process for responding to questions. IPAK is arguing that the parts of the solicitation regarding past performance and experience are ambiguous.

Pre-award protests can be resolved in several ways. The agency can take corrective action to address the concerns. GAO also can issue a decision that either supports the protestors or the agency.

GAO also can dismiss the protests if the issues raised are ones that are generally relevant only after an award.

A company can argue it will lose because of reasons X, Y or Z. But because awards have not been made, GAO can rule that the protests are premature.

For now, GAO is scheduled to decide these protests between July 17 and 22. The current PACTS II contract is slated to expire in February 2025.