General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc.

B-415568,B-415568.2: Jan 25, 2018

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General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (GDIT), of Fairfax, Virginia, protests the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's (NGA) award of a contract to Leidos Innovations Corporation, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. HM0476-16-R-0025, to provide various information technology (IT) support services. GDIT asserts that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions, unreasonably evaluated proposals under the technical/management evaluation factor, and performed an unreasonable best-value tradeoff.

We deny the protest.

DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted decision has now been approved for public release.

Decision

Matter of:  General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc.

File:  B-415568; B-415568.2

Date:  January 25, 2018

Michael D. McGill, Esq., Thomas L. McGovern III, Esq., Christine Reynolds, Esq., and Thomas A. Pettit, Esq., Hogan Lovells US LLP, for the protester.
Kevin P. Mullen, Esq., James A. Tucker, Esq., Sandeep N. Nandivada, Esq., and R. Locke Bell, Esq., Morrison & Foerster LLP, for Leidos Innovations Corp., the intervenor.
Kenneth W. Sachs, Esq., Bree A. Ermentrout, Esq., David C. Morzenti, Esq., National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and Major Meghan M. Poirier, Department of the Army, for the agency.
Glenn G. Wolcott, Esq., and Christina Sklarew, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the decision.

DIGEST

1.  Where agency was unable to make a reliable cost/price reasonableness assessment due to multiple defects and omissions in the protester’s initial proposal, and the agency’s discussions following evaluation of initial proposals directed the protester’s attention to the various flaws that precluded a cost/price reasonableness determination, the discussions were meaningful. 

2.  Agency reasonably evaluated the protester’s and awardee’s proposals under the technical/management evaluation factor.

3.  Where, in making a best-value determination, the agency performed and documented a detailed, comparative assessment of the qualitative differences between protester’s and awardee’s proposals, and considered the difference in cost/price, the best-value determination was reasonable. 

DECISION

General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (GDIT), of Fairfax, Virginia, protests the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) award of a contract to Leidos Innovations Corporation, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. HM0476-16-R-0025, to provide various information technology (IT) support services.  GDIT asserts that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions, unreasonably evaluated proposals under the technical/management evaluation factor, and performed an unreasonable best-value tradeoff.

We deny the protest.

BACKGROUND

On October 13, 2016, the agency issued RFP No. HM0476-16-R-0025 (referred to as the Information Technology Enterprise Management Services (ITEMS) User Facing Services (UFS) procurement), contemplating the single award of an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract and the simultaneous award of an initial task order (task order No. 1).[1]  The solicitation sought proposals to provide IT services that NGA users will need to “perform their daily activities at their desks, offices, conference rooms and classrooms.” [2]  Agency MOL/COS, Nov. 16, 2017, at 2.

The solicitation provided that the source selection decision would be based on a best‑value tradeoff, and established the following evaluation factors:  technical/ management,[3] past performance,[4] security,[5] and cost/price.[6]  Of relevance to this protest, the RFP provided that cost/price proposals would be evaluated for “completeness” and “reasonableness.”  More specifically, the solicitation provided that in evaluating “completeness,” the agency would consider “the responsiveness of the Offeror in providing price data for all RFP requirements” and would assess “the traceability of those prices” to the offeror’s service catalog price list (SCPL).[7]  RFP at 179-80.

On or before December 6, proposals were submitted by six offerors, including GDIT and Leidos.  In its evaluation of GDIT’s initial cost/price proposal, the agency’s cost/price evaluation team (CPET) identified numerous flaws, omissions, and failures to comply with the solicitation’s requirements.  For example, the CPET found that GDIT’s SCPL included entries of “$-” for certain RFP requirements, which the agency interpreted as “$0.00,” noting that GDIT “provided no rationale . . . for this input.”  AR, Tab G.6.1, Initial Cost/Price Report, at 13.  The CPET further noted that GDIT’s SCPL “did not propose an adjustment formula as required” and was “missing worksheets that break out the calculations,” concluding that it “could not validate the prices of the requirements against calculations of labor hour estimates.”  Id. at 12-13. 

Finally, the agency noted that GDIT’s cost/price proposal included five “Key Ground Rules and Assumptions.”[8]  Id. at 20.  The agency concluded that several of GDIT’s assumptions were invalid, noting, for example, that any premium associated with [redacted] “shall be proposed as part of [GDIT’s] fully-burdened labor rates.”  Id. at 20‑22.  

Based on the agency’s determination that GDIT’s initial cost/price proposal reflected flaws, omissions, and failures to comply with the solicitation’s requirements, the CPET concluded:  “at this time[,] the Contracting Officer cannot determine [cost/price] reasonableness due to [GDIT’s] incomplete price proposal submission.”[9]  Id. at 22-24. 

Thereafter, the agency established a competitive range consisting of all six offerors and, on June 20, 2017, opened discussions by sending multiple items for discussion (IFDs) to each offeror.  AR, Tab I.1.a, GDIT Competitive Range Notification.  Specifically, the agency sent 24 IFDs to GDIT, directing GDIT’s attention to the various flaws, omissions, and failures to comply with the solicitation requirements contained in its proposal.  AR, Tab E.1.a, GDIT IFDs.  Consistent with its determination that GDIT’s proposal was incomplete, the agency did not make any representation to GDIT during these discussions as to the reasonableness of its proposed cost/price.

In-person discussions were conducted with all of the offerors between July 12 and July 14.  Thereafter, the agency issued several RFP amendments,[10] and requested that final proposal revisions (FPRs) be submitted by August 9.

On August 9, the offerors submitted their FPRs.  After reviewing those submissions, the agency determined that it needed to make a change to the RFP’s CLIN structure.[11]  Accordingly, on August 17, the agency issued an RFP amendment that revised the CLIN structure and requested that offerors resubmit their FPRs by August 21.  Following the requested resubmission, GDIT’s and Leidos’s FPRs were evaluated as follows: 


 

Leidos

GDIT

Tech/Mgmt

Good

Outstanding

Past Performance

Substantial Confidence

Substantial Confidence

Security

Pass

Pass

Cost/Price

  Labor Rates
  Task Order No. 1
  Sample Task Order

Total Evaluated Price (TEP)

   

    $10,575,036
    $65,537,922
   $131,629,103

  $207,742,062

   

    $17,322,233
    $96,886,739
   $151,486,717

  $265,695,689


AR, Tab G.2, Source Selection Advisory Council (SSAC) Report, at 1.

Specifically, the agency concluded that GDIT’s cost/price proposal was complete and responsive to the RFP requirements.  In evaluating cost/price reasonableness, the CPET established a reasonableness threshold by calculating the average (arithmetic mean) of all offerors’ proposed prices and adding one standard deviation to that average.  AR, Tab G.5.2.b, Final Cost/Price Evaluation, at 5.  With regard to task order No. 1, the competitive threshold (average price plus one standard deviation) was determined to be $95,429,630.  Id. at 13.  GDIT’s task order No. 1 price of $96,886,739 exceeded that threshold.  Id.  Accordingly, the final CPET report stated that GDIT’s task order No. 1 price was unreasonable.[12]  Id.

Thereafter, the agency’s SSAC reviewed the evaluation record, performed a comparative best-value tradeoff analysis, and recommended award to Leidos.  In making this recommendation, the SSAC noted that the CPET had assessed GDIT’s task order No. 1 price as being unreasonable, but stated:

Since [the CPET’s price reasonableness determination] is a binary assessment that, in the SSAC’s opinion, may not fully represent reasonableness . . . the SSAC did not take into consideration the [CPET’s] reasonableness determination in the comparative analysis/best value trade off. 

AR, Tab G.2, SSAC Report, at 3. 

On September 25, the source selection authority (SSA) selected Leidos for award.  In his source selection decision document (SSDD), the SSA stated:

GDIT’s “Outstanding” technical proposal (and the advantages associated with it) and “Substantial” past performance surpasses Leidos[’s] “Good” technical proposal (and its advantages) with the same “Substantial” past performance.  The comparative analysis showed that both GDIT and Leidos can more than effectively support NGA’s UFS [user facing services] needs with low to moderate risk of unsuccessful performance.  Both have strong technical approaches to support performance for a multi-geographic and multi-customer environment and are able to effectively respond to high priority issues, to include during crisis periods, which is of utmost importance for NGA.  However, the Total Evaluated Price (TEP) . . . for GDIT's proposal is approximately 28% ($57.9M) above Leidos’[s] TEP price.  I concur with the SSAC that the advantages of GDIT’s proposal [do] not warrant the 28% ($57.9M) price premium.

AR, Tab G.3, SSDD, at 1-2. 

Thereafter, GDIT was advised of the agency’s source selection decision.  This protest followed.

DISCUSSION

GDIT protests that:  the agency was required to advise GDIT that its cost/price for task order No. 1 was unreasonably high; the agency’s evaluation under the technical/management factor was flawed; and the agency’s best-value determination was unreasonable.[13]  We deny the protest.[14]

Meaningful Discussions

GDIT challenges the agency’s source selection decision on the basis that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions, asserting that this constituted a defect that “tainted the entire competition.”  Protest at 2.  Specifically, GDIT asserts that the agency’s discussions following its evaluation of the initial cost/price proposals were less than meaningful because the discussions did not address the cost/price reasonableness of task order No. 1.  In asserting that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions, GDIT has made three specific assertions. 

First, GDIT asserts that the agency’s determination that GDIT’s initial cost/price proposal was “incomplete” should not have precluded the agency from making a cost/price reasonableness assessment.  Specifically, GDIT asserts that, “[e]ven assuming . . . that there were impediments to conducting the Completeness evaluation before the close of discussions, there were no similar impediments to conducting the [cost/price] Reasonableness evaluation.”  Protest at 19.

Second, GDIT asserts that, because the agency made a competitive range determination following its evaluation of initial proposals, it was required to make a cost/price reasonableness determination.  Id.  More specifically, GDIT maintains that the agency “was obligated to conduct a price reasonableness analysis before establishing its competitive range.”  Id.

Third, relying on this Office’s recent decision in Veterans Evaluation Services, Inc., et al., B‑412940 et al., July 13, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 185, GDIT notes that, where an agency identifies an issue after the close of discussions that “should have been identified prior to the close of discussions,” the agency is required to reopen discussions.  Id. at 2-3.  In this context, GDIT asserts that, here, the agency “belatedly” determined that GDIT’s proposed cost/price for task order No. 1 was unreasonably high and, accordingly, the agency was “required” to reopen discussions with GDIT.  Id. at 21.  

The agency responds that it was unable to make any reliable determination regarding the cost/price reasonableness of GDIT’s initial proposal due to the multiple defects and omissions in that proposal.  The agency further responds that during the discussions it conducted with GDIT following submission of initial proposals, the agency provided multiple IFDs to GDIT that reasonably directed GDIT’s attention to the various defects and omissions in its proposal.  Finally, the agency responds that it was not until submission of FPRs that GDIT provided sufficient information responding to the RFP’s stated requirements that the agency was able to make a reliable cost/price reasonableness determination.  Accordingly, the agency maintains that it did, in fact, conduct meaningful discussions with GDIT.[15]

When an agency engages in discussions with an offeror, the discussions must be “meaningful,” that is, they must lead an offeror into the areas of its proposal that requires amplification or revision.  Hanford Envtl. Health Found., B-292858.2, B‑292858.5, Apr. 7, 2004, 2004 CPD ¶ 164 at 8.  Although an agency’s discussions must address proposal deficiencies and significant weaknesses that are identified, or are reasonably identifiable, see Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 15.306(d)(3), where proposal defects are first introduced in a response to discussions, there is no requirement for an agency to reopen discussions.  See, e.g., L-3 Comms. Corp., BT Fuze Prods. Div., B-299227, B‑299227.2, Mar. 14, 2007, 2007 CPD ¶ 83 at 19; Cube‑All Star Servs. Joint Venture, B-291903, Apr. 30, 2003, 2003 CPD ¶ 145 at 10-11.

Here, our review of the record supports the agency’s assertion that, during the discussions following GDIT’s submission of its initial cost/price proposal, the agency reasonably directed GDIT’s attention to the multiple aspects of its proposal that failed to comply with the solicitation requirements.  See AR, Tab E.1.a, GDIT IFDs.  Further, we reject GDIT’s assertion that the agency was required to make a cost/price reasonableness determination on the basis of GDIT’s incomplete initial cost/price proposal--and to conduct discussions with GDIT regarding that allegedly required assessment.  As discussed above, the solicitation specifically provided that proposals would be evaluated for completeness, warning offerors that an incomplete proposal would be ineligible for award.  RFP at 180.  Further, where, as here, a cost/price proposal is incomplete, that incompleteness precludes an analysis of whether the overall proposed cost/price is higher or lower than other proposals received.  See Orion Tech., Inc., B-405077, Aug. 12, 2011, 2011 CPD ¶ 159 at 6-7.  Finally, it is well settled that a proposal that fails to comply with the solicitation requirements cannot form a valid basis for award.  See, e.g., For Your Information, Inc., B-278352, Dec. 15, 1997, 97-2 CPD ¶ 164 at 2-3.  Consistent with these principles, we believe that if the agency, here, had communicated some conclusion regarding the cost/price reasonableness of GDIT’s initial, incomplete proposal during the discussions following the agency’s evaluation of initial proposals, such discussions could well have been misleading.  Accordingly, we reject GDIT’s assertion that the submission of GDIT’s initial cost/price proposal created an obligation for the agency to conduct discussions with GDIT regarding the cost/price reasonableness of that submission.

We similarly reject GDIT’s assertion that, because the agency made a competitive range determination, it was required to have made a cost/price reasonableness determination regarding GDIT’s initial proposal.  Here, it is clear that the agency complied with the requirement that an agency may not ignore cost/price in making a competitive range determination.  See FAR § 15.306(c); Kathpal Techs., Inc.; Computer & Hi-Tech Mgmt., Inc., B‑283137.3 et al., Dec. 30, 1999, 2000 CPD ¶ 6 at 9.  The record here also reflects the fact that, after considering GDIT’s proposed cost/price, the agency reasonably determined that it was unable to make a reasonable and reliable determination as to whether GDIT’s cost/price was reasonable.  Accordingly, we reject GDIT’s reliance on the fact that the agency established a competitive range as a basis for asserting that discussions were less than meaningful.

Finally, GDIT’s reliance on Veterans Evaluation Services, Inc., supra, is misplaced, since the facts here are materially different from the facts on which that decision was based.  First, in Veterans Evaluation Services,  Inc., the agency was able to determine that the prices reflected in the protesters’ initial proposals were “fair and reasonable,” and the agency communicated that determination to the protesters during discussions.  Veterans Evaluation Services, Inc, supra, at 19.  Following discussions, the protesters submitted FPRs in which one protester lowered its price and the other protester left its price unchanged.  Id. at 20.  Finally, due solely to the fact that the competing offerors substantially lowered their prices in their FPRs, the protesters’ FPR prices were found unreasonably high, even though the agency had previously advised the protesters that their prices were reasonable.  Id.  On those facts, we concluded that the agency was required to reopen discussions.

In contrast, here, as discussed above, the agency was unable to determine the cost/price reasonableness of GDIT’s initial proposal due to multiple defects and omissions within GDIT’s proposal.  Consistent with the agency’s determination that it was unable to make a reliable cost/price reasonableness determination, the agency declined to potentially mislead GDIT during discussions and, accordingly, did not advise GDIT that its cost/price was either reasonable or unreasonable.  Finally, GDIT does not dispute that its price for the task order No. 1 requirements increased from $92,179,800 to $96,886,739 between its initial proposal and its FPR.  GDIT Comments, Nov. 27, 2017, at 19.[16]  On these facts, we reject GDIT’s assertion that the holding in Veterans Evaluation Services, Inc. is applicable here.  In summary, we reject all of the arguments that GDIT timely presented regarding the agency’s alleged failure to conduct meaningful discussions.[17]

Technical/Management Evaluation

Next, GDIT complains that the agency’s evaluation under the technical/management evaluation was flawed.  Following receipt and review of the agency report, GDIT challenges virtually every aspect of the agency’s evaluation, complaining that the agency assigned strengths to certain aspects of Leidos’s proposal, but “failed to treat GDIT’s proposal similarly.”  GDIT Comments, Nov. 27, 2017, at 3. 

For example, GDIT complains that, in evaluating proposals under the operations and sustainment subfactor, the agency “assigned a slight strength to Leidos’s proposal” for demonstrating a good understanding of [redacted], asserting that “GDIT’s proposal also demonstrated its thorough understanding of [redacted].”[18]  Id. at 4.

By way of another example, GDIT complains that it was unfairly evaluated under the staffing plan subfactor, noting that the agency “assigned a . . . moderate strength in specific recognition of Leidos’s [redacted].”  GDIT Supp. Protest, Nov. 27, 2017, at 6.  GDIT complains that the agency “did not similarly credit GDIT’s own sound practices for [redacted].”  Id.

The agency responds that GDIT’s complaints are without merit.  With regard to GDIT’s complaints under the operations and sustainment subfactor, the agency states that either GDIT’s proposal did not, in the agency’s judgment, warrant similar strengths or, alternatively, that the agency did, in fact, recognize and give credit to GDIT for the aspects of its proposal that GDIT asserts the agency ignored.  For example, with regard to GDIT’s assertion that the agency failed to recognize that its proposal demonstrated a “thorough understanding of [redacted], the agency states that GDIT “did not demonstrate” such an understanding, elaborating that “[GDIT’s] saying that [it] [redacted] without further explanation or details of implementation, is merely an unsupported assertion.”  Agency Response to GDIT Supp. Protest, Dec. 8, 2017, at 2-3.  The agency adds that GDIT’s proposal “did not warrant an additional strength for merely sprinkling . . . the term [redacted] throughout their proposal,” further noting that “references to the mere use of[,] or common knowledge of[,][redacted] for the proposed GDIT service approach do not demonstrate a ‘deep [redacted] understanding’.”  Id. at 4.  With regard to GDIT’s other complaints under this subfactor, the agency identifies various portions of the agency’s evaluation record where the agency, in fact, properly recognized the aspects of GDIT’s proposal that GDIT asserts were ignored. 

In response to GDIT’s complaints regarding the agency’s evaluation under the staffing plan subfactor, the agency references specific aspects of Leidos’s proposal that [redacted], including references to [redacted].  Id. at 7.  The agency states that it “found particular value in Leidos’s detailed discussion of [redacted], noting that “[GDIT’s] proposal is silent about [redacted].”  Id.   

The evaluation of an offeror’s technical proposal is a matter within the agency’s broad discretion and our Office will not substitute our judgment for that of the agency; rather, we will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgments were reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations.  Nuclear Prod. Partners LLC; Integrated Nuclear Prod. Sols, LLC, B-407948 et al., Apr. 29, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ 112 at 21.  A protester’s disagreement with the agency’s judgment does not establish that the evaluation was unreasonable.  WAI‑Stoller Servs., LLC; Portage, Inc., B-408248.13 et al., May 29, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 201 at 7.  It is an offeror’s responsibility to submit a well-written proposal, with adequately detailed information that clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation and allows a meaningful review by the procuring agency.  ACC Constr.-McKnight JV, LLC, B-411073, Apr. 30, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 147 at 5; Mike Kesler Enters., B‑401633, Oct. 23, 2009, 2009 CPD ¶ 205 at 2-3.  An offeror runs the risk that a procuring agency will evaluate its proposal unfavorably where it fails to do so.  ACC Constr.-McKnight JV, LLC, supra; International Med. Corps, B-403688, Dec. 6, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 292 at 7. 

Here, we have reviewed the evaluation record and find no basis to question the reasonableness of the agency’s evaluation under the technical/management evaluation factor.  Consistent with the discussion above, the agency has responded to all of the GDIT’s multiple allegations explaining either the basis for the differing assessments between GDIT’s and Leidos’s proposals, or referencing various portions of the agency’s contemporaneous record that refute GDIT’s assertions that the agency failed to reasonably consider GDIT’s proposal.  As noted above, we will not substitute our judgment for that of the agency and, based on our review of the record here, all of GDIT’s allegations regarding the agency’s evaluation under the technical/management evaluation factor are without merit. 

Best-Value Determination

Finally, GDIT protests that the agency’s best-value tradeoff determination was flawed in that the agency “never conducted a comparative assessment of the qualitative differences between GDIT’s and Leidos’s proposals” under the non-cost/price evaluation factors.  Protest at 4.

The agency responds that both the SSAC and the SSA conducted a thorough, detailed and complete review and qualitative analysis to determine which proposal represented the best value to the agency, and that discriminators between the two proposals were considered in the tradeoff analysis.  Agency Memorandum of Law, Nov. 16, 2017, at 34‑38.  More specifically, the agency points to the SSAC’s detailed comparative analysis.  See AR, Tab G.2, SSAC Report, at 3-4, 9-11.  Among other things, this analysis acknowledged GDIT’s “exceptional approach to [redacted],” its proposed [redacted], its “excellent [redacted]. . . which [redacted],” and “the inclusion of [redacted].  Id. at 10. 

Similarly, the agency points to the SSAC’s recognition and consideration of various Leidos strengths, including its “experience with [redacted]”; its “insight into [redacted]”; its [redacted]; its [redacted]; its [redacted]; and its [redacted].  Id. at 9-10. Accordingly, the agency maintains it performed, and documented, a thorough comparative assessment of the qualitative differences between GDIT’s and Leidos’s proposals.

Source selection officials in negotiated best-value tradeoff procurements have broad discretion in making cost/technical tradeoffs, and the extent to which one may be sacrificed for the other is governed only by the tests of rationality and consistency with the solicitation’s stated evaluation criteria.  Atteloir, Inc., B-290601, B-290602, Aug. 12, 2002, 2002 CPD ¶ 160 at 5.  While source selection decisions must be documented, such documentation need not reflect every consideration factored into the tradeoff decision; rather, the documentation need only be sufficient to establish that the agency was aware of the relative merits and costs of the competing proposals and that the source selection decision was reasonably based.  Wyle Labs., Inc., B-407784, Feb. 19, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ 63 at 11.

Here, we reject GDIT’s assertion that the agency failed to perform a comparison of the qualitative differences between the two proposals, and we find no basis to question the reasonableness or rationality of the agency’s source selection decision.  To the contrary, the contemporaneous evaluation record contains a thorough, detailed comparison of the relative strengths of the competing offerors’ proposals, along with the cost/price of each.  In this regard, the record supports the agency’s assertion that it properly and meaningfully considered, consistent with the terms of the solicitation, each of the offerors’ relative strengths.  On this record, while GDIT’s protest reflects disagreement and dissatisfaction with the agency’s best-value tradeoff and source selection decision, it fails to establish that the agency’s judgments and determinations were unreasonable. 

The protest is denied.

Thomas H. Armstrong
General Counsel



[1] The RFP provided that the IDIQ contract will have a 5-year ordering period, and that task order No. 1 will have a 12-month base performance period and a 12-month option period.  Agency Report (AR), Tab B.1.a., RFP, at 174. 

[2] The agency states that this contract consolidates services that were previously provided “under contracts that were based on geographic location, and realigns them to functional areas.”  Agency Memorandum of Law/Contracting Officer’s Statement (MOL/COS), Nov. 16, 2017, at 1-2. 

[3] The RFP established five subfactors under the technical/management factor (operations and sustainment approach; service approach; staffing plan; incoming contract transition; and small business participation) and provided for the assignment of the following adjectival ratings:  outstanding, good, acceptable, marginal, and unacceptable.  RFP at 174-75. 

[4] With regard to evaluation of past performance, the solicitation provided that the agency would “consider[] each Offeror’s demonstrated recent and relevant record of performance in supplying services that meet the contract requirements,” and would assign confidence ratings of:  substantial confidence, satisfactory confidence, neutral confidence, limited confidence, or no confidence.  Id. at 176-77.  In assessing the relevance of prior contracts, the solicitation provided that the agency would consider “the contractor’s role, similarity of size, scope, technical requirements, complexity, dollar value, contract type, and degree of subcontract/teaming.”  Id. at 178. 

[5] With regard to security, the solicitation provided that each offeror must “possess[] an active TOP SECRET facility clearance,” and stated that proposals would be evaluated on a pass/fail basis under this factor.  Id. at 179.

[6] The solicitation provided that each offeror’s total evaluated price would be based on the sum of the following three calculations:  (1) a labor rate calculation (the solicitation stated that the agency would apply each offeror’s proposed direct labor rates to an undisclosed, “predetermined subset of labor hours, labor categories, skill levels, locations, site types and clearance levels for selected time periods”); (2) the offeror’s proposed price for task order No. 1, which covers the first two years of the IDIQ ordering period; and (3) the offeror’s proposed price for a sample task order, which covers the last three years of the ordering period.  RFP at 181. 

[7] The solicitation required offerors to provide SCPLs covering all items covered by the IDIQ requirements, and provided that task order prices must be based on SCPL prices.  See RFP at 169.  Additionally, the RFP provided that an offeror’s SCPL must include a “capacity adjustment formula” to allow for price adjustments based on “quantity ranges.”  Id.  Consistent with these requirements, the RFP stated: “An Offeror whose . . . Service Catalog is evaluated as incomplete during technical evaluation may be ineligible for award.”  Id. at 180.  Similarly, the RFP stated: “If an Offeror’s proposal is found to be incomplete, meaning the Offeror did not propose a rate for each labor category, skill level, location, site type and clearance level as identified in [the solicitation’s] Direct Labor Rate Template, then the proposal will not be evaluated for technical acceptance and will not be considered for award.”  Id.

[8] Among other things, GDIT’s proposal stated that its cost/price was based on specific assumptions regarding [redacted].  See AR, Tab G.6.1, Initial Cost/Price Evaluation, at 20-22. 

[9] The agency also determined that it was unable to make cost/price reasonableness determinations for the other offerors. 

[10] Among other things, the RFP amendments “revised Section M evaluation criteria for the Technical/Management and Cost/Price factors,” made “changes to Section L instructions,” and eliminated certain CLINs (contract line item numbers) that contained  “not to exceed” amounts (that is, “plug numbers”).  Agency MOL/COS, Nov. 16, 2017, at 9-10, 20. 

[11] The agency determined that it needed a fixed-price CLIN to account for travel, other direct costs, material, and hardware maintenance.  AR, Tab B.7, RFP amend. No. 6. 

[12] The CPET concluded that GDIT’s price did not exceed the reasonableness thresholds for the remaining two calculations on which an offeror’s total evaluated price was based, that is, the labor rate calculation or the sample task order.  AR, Tab G.5.2.b, Final Cost/Price Evaluation, at 9, 15. 

[13] In its various protest submissions, GDIT has raised arguments that are in addition to, or variations of, those specifically discussed herein, including complaints regarding the agency’s evaluation of past performance, transition approach, key personnel, and proposed subcontractors.  Many of these arguments essentially request that this Office substitute its judgment for the judgment of the procuring agency--something this Office declines to do.  See, e.g., ManTech Advanced Sys. Int’l, Inc., B‑413717, Dec. 16, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 370 at 3.  We have reviewed all of GDIT’s multiple arguments and find no basis to sustain its protest. 

[14] A limited portion of the record in this matter is classified.  Although our Office reviewed the classified portion of the record, our decision does not discuss any classified information other than to state that we do not view the classified portion of the record as containing anything that is inconsistent with our decision. 

[15] The agency asserts that, in any event, the SSAC overruled the CPET’s cost/price reasonableness determination, and that the SSA conducted a cost/technical tradeoff between Leidos’s and GDIT’s proposals that incorporated GDIT’s cost/price for task order No. 1.  Accordingly, the agency maintains that, ultimately, the agency did not view GDIT’s cost/price as unreasonably high, and therefore was not required to raise this issue in discussions.

[16] Among other things GDIT states that it “increase[d] the resources and hours allocated to [redacted], which led to modest price increases.”  GDIT Comments, Nov. 27, 2017, at 19. 

[17] Following completion of the protest record in this matter, GAO initiated a conference call during which it sought feedback from the parties regarding GAO’s perception that none of GDIT’s arguments raised the issue of whether the agency had any additional obligation to conduct discussions in connection with its issuance of the August 17 RFP amendment and request for resubmission of FPRs.  GDIT’s response to GAO’s query confirmed our preliminary conclusion that this issue was not presented.  Because GDIT did not raise this issue, it was not clear from the record whether the agency’s August 17 RFP amendment created an independent requirement for the agency to discuss cost/price reasonableness with GDIT.  To the extent GDIT subsequently raised this issue in response to our conference call, the issue was not timely presented.  See 4 C.F.R. § 21.2.

[18] Similarly, under this subfactor, GDIT notes that Leidos “received a slight strength in recognition of its [redacted], complaining that GDIT “repeatedly referenced its own [redacted]; that the agency “assigned Leidos a slight strength for its [redacted], complaining that GDIT “also proposed to use [redacted]; and that Leidos’s proposal received “a slight strength” for its proposed use of [redacted], again complaining that the agency “failed to assign GDIT’s proposal a strength for its use of the same [redacted].”  GDIT Supp. Protest, Nov. 27, 2017, at 4-6.

Aug 17, 2018

Aug 16, 2018

Aug 15, 2018

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