GSA overrides stop work order for HSPD-12 contract

The General Services Administration has decided to implement the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 managed service office contract with EDS Corp. despite protests by two unsuccessful bidders.

The Government Accountability Office today confirmed that GSA submitted a letter that overrode the request to stop the procurement filed by XTec and Computer Literacy World.

Edward Goldstein, the attorney handling the case, said nothing changes from GAO’s point of view. GAO has until Aug. 9 to make a decision.

The protesting companies did not respond to a request for comments.

GSA's decision was based on national security concerns, said GSA spokeswoman Diane Merriett.

“The GSA HSPD-12 Managed Service Office (MSO) will resume work with EDS, who was awarded the contract on April 23, 2007,” said GSA spokeswoman Diane Merriett. “The decision was based upon the urgent and compelling national security interests that relate to the need for credentialing federal employees and government contractors by October 2008 with interoperable credentials as well as securing computer networks by using the cryptographic capabilities of the new smart identification cards. These capabilities are part of the government’s strategy to increase security and information sharing in support of homeland defense.”

One government source said GSA filed the motion to override the stay because it believes it will win the protest.

This is the second time GSA overrode a request to stop work on the contract after a protest. When GSA awarded BearingPoint Inc. a $104 million contract in August 2006, and three firms protested, agency officials made a similar claim of urgent and compelling need.

The latest round of protests stems from GSA’s decision in April to award EDS a 17-month contract with three one-year options worth $66 million to implement 225 fixed and mobile HSPD-12 enrollment stations nationwide for at least 420,000 federal employees and contractors at 42 agencies.

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