AKO protests focus on leased government facilities

“B-296915; B-296915.2; B-296915.3; B-296915.4; B-296915.5, Cherry Road Technologies; EDS, Oct. 24, 2

CherryRoad Technologies and EDS protested the award of the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) Enterprise Services contract because the winner, Lockheed Martin, proposed using leased government facilities to house the Web portal’s hardware. They also said the service inaccurately judged the three vendors’ proposals.

The Government Accountability Office denied the companies’ protests late last month and released its findings yesterday. CherryRoad and EDS filed protests based on matters of interpretation and their belief that the Army did not select the best value proposal.

CherryRoad and EDS said the AKO solicitation prohibited the use of government facilities as data centers, but the Army did not clarify that point in its answers to them. CherryRoad, the current administrator of the Web portal, questioned why Lockheed Martin was allowed to use a teammate’s leased government facility when CherryRoad could not use Fort Belvoir, Va., the current site of the portal.

“Protest challenging awardee’s use of leased government facilities is denied, where solicitation did not preclude the use of leased government facilities but stated only that agency would not be providing facilities as ‘government furnished property’ under this contract,” the GAO document states.

CherryRoad and EDS proposed using nongovernment data centers obtained through commercial leases as AKO’s primary and backup data center sites. Lockheed Martin offered government facilities that one of its teammates leased and, GAO said the company paid fair market value for the leases.

CherryRoad and EDS also asserted that the Army’s rating scheme for the AKO solicitation lacked coherent standards and was inconsistent with the advantages and disadvantages of the offerors’ proposals. The service rated vendors’ proposals on 12 criteria in four areas -- technical, management, performance risk and price/cost -- and it assigned colors for outstanding, good and other ratings in 10 of the 12 criteria.

Lockheed Martin received nine “blues,” or outstanding recognition, including one blue for past performance on military information technology programs. EDS tallied three blues and CherryRoad two.

CherryRoad and EDS said the Army incorrectly awarded Lockheed Martin blue ratings in several criteria. EDS said that in giving Lockheed Martin a blue in past performance, the service ignored the company’s negative past performance related to the Air Force’s Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) contract while the Army criticized EDS for performance issues under the Navy Marine Corps Intranet.

GAO said the Army reviewed Lockheed Martin’s work on ISC2 and that the Air Force program manager, aside from some negative comments, gave the company numerous highly favorable comments that suggested the company deserved the blue rating. GAO said the Army appropriately reviewed past performance by both EDS and Cherry Road on military IT programs. There were few negative comments. GAO noted the service actually gave both companies a blue rating in that criterion.

In July, the Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $152.1 million contract for one year with six option years. Under the performance-based contract, the company and its team will administer AKO, which now has 1.8 million subscribers, and oversee its knowledge management program.

GAO ruled that the Army appropriately awarded the AKO Enterprise Services contract to Lockheed Martin because the company offered the highest technically rated and lowest-priced proposal. Lockheed Martin bid $180.8 million, CherryRoad $368.3 million and EDS $413.4 million.

The protests primarily centered on Lockheed Martin’s use of leased government facilities for AKO, said Daniel Gordon, GAO’s associate general counsel for procurement law. He declined further comment, referring to the language in the agency’s ruling.

EDS declined comment on GAO’s release of the ruling. CherryRoad did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The Army did not immediately provide comment but said it may choose to do so later this week.

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