Army splits protest decision

The Army has handed down a split decision in a protest of a $1.4 billion

program award and may reopen bidding on part of the program.

The Army in late August awarded an $857 million contract to GTSI Corp.

and a $617 million deal to IBM Global Services-Federal to provide hardware,

software and services to the Army, Navy and Treasury Department under the

Mini, Maxi and Database-1 (MMAD-1) program.

The dual award was expected to offer the Army several advantages, including

ongoing competition and ensuring a continuous a supply line should one contractor

run into trouble.

However, two losing contractors — Litton PRC Inc. and Federal Data Corp. — formally protested the awards to the Army Materiel Command, which handed

down its split decision Wednesday and recommended that the Army's Communications-Electronics

Command should consider recompeting the award to GTSI.

"Army Materiel Command denied the protest against IBM, and it denied

in part and sustained in part the protest against the second award [to GTSI],"

said Michelle McCaskill Griggs, an AMC spokeswoman. "Cecom is considering

corrective action, including possibly reopening the competition to any remaining

competitors for the second award."

Griggs said she could offer no further details on the decision.

Industry sources, however, say that AMC sustained the protest against

GTSI in part because it might not have been evaluated fairly with all companies

"on a level playing field."

Both GTSI and Cecom can file appeals. The command also could choose

to move forward with just one award to IBM or to follow AMC's recommendation

and allow the companies to recompete.

"We believe very strongly that Cecom conducted a fair and equitable

procurement with regard to process," said Joel Lipkin, GTSI senior vice

president of sales and customer support. "We believe they made two awards

based on best value, and we are looking at what alternatives we have at

this point."

The organizational-level protests were filed with the Army Materiel

Command rather than with the General Accounting Office or the courts. Organizational

protests are designed to settle disputes quickly; in this case, it took

about 100 days.

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