EDS protests eTravel

EDS is protesting the General Services Administration's decision to award contracts to two companies selected to provide Web-based travel management for the federal government.

The contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems and CW Government Travel Inc. Aug. 13, after a monthlong review process conducted by GSA in collaboration with 22 other agencies. The two companies demonstrated their ability to provide a comprehensive, end-to-end travel services portal that supports federal travel regulation policies, GSA officials said.

The eTravel portal will allow federal agencies to plan travel, make reservations, expedite the reimbursement of travel expenses to employees and capitalize on the government's buying power to reduce the cost of travel management. The 10-year, $450 million eTravel contract is expected to cut federal travel management costs by up to 50 percent.

"We believe the procurement process was not fair to all bidders and the award decision was flawed in several respects," said EDS spokesman Kevin Clarke. "We offered the lowest overall cost."

The protest also questioned GSA's assessment of the bidders.

"Northrop Grumman was inexplicably rated outstanding in both technology and past performance," Clarke said. "In contrast to their rating, our proposal was rated only acceptable." EDS already has electronic travel systems running successfully at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Marshals Service, he said.

Tim Burke, GSA's eTravel program manager said officials at the General Accounting Office are reviewing the protest and will make a decision on the matter within 100 days, around Dec. 8. GSA officials will withhold further comment until GAO's decision, he added.

Meanwhile, GSA's eTravel program management office will continue to work with agencies to guarantee a smooth migration to eTravel services, which will be available for full operation by December, Burke said.

Michael Hardy contributed to this report.

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