It is now nearly 30 days since the Veterans Affairs Department's made its selections for the $60 billion IT vehicle and the window is rapidly closing for disappointed bidders to make their objections.
In an era when it seems every major contract gets protested, the number of challenges to the Veterans Affairs Department’s awards for the recompete of its go-to IT services contract vehicle stands at zero.
On Halloween, VA announced its choice of 30 companies for positions on the vehicle that has a $60.7 billion ceiling over up to 10 years. VA received 177 proposals in total, or around six times the number of awardees, which means many more disappointed bidders.
Known as T4NG2, the Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology Next Generation 2 vehicle is VA’s primary vehicle for IT services.
Billions of dollars in work flowed through its predecessor T4NG and before that T4.
T4NG2 faced some pre-award challenges, including protests that went to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Many of those challenges dealt with the self-scoring methodology and whether mentor-protégé joint ventures had an advantage.
As those protests were resolved, VA moved ahead with awards over the end of October. The final protest at the court was dismissed after VA announced the awards.
Companies have 10 days to file a protest once they know the basis of their argument or should know it, following a debriefing from the agency. Many protests involve claims of poor evaluations or unequal treatment of bidders.
If a company waits too long, their protest can be dismissed as “untimely.” That happens even if the company is right and they were treated unfairly.
Given that VA announced the T4NG2 awards on Oct. 31, debriefings probably took place over the next week to 10 days. Which means the protest window stretches to about Nov. 22, give or take a day or so.
We’ve reached out to VA to ask if they believe the contract is in the clear. No word back yet, but I’m cautiously optimistic that T4NG2 will be up and running in December. The task orders would then start to flow.
If I’m wrong, we’ll be back to writing about the protests and the mistakes that disappointed bidders claim VA made.