GAO hands down decision on Unisys bid protest

Ruling clears the way for CSC to begin work on the TSA infrastructure

Unisys Corp. may have lost its last shot at keeping the lucrative Transportation Security Administration infrastructure contract.

The Government Accountability Office denied Unisys’ latest protest of the award for the $500 million contract, which was won by Computer Sciences Corp.

This is the first protest that Unisys has lost since the contract began going through the procurement process. Unisys filed three protests since 2008. The company protested when it didn't make the cut for the final bidders. It also protest when CSC first won the contract in September 2009 and again when TSA awarded the contract a second time to CSC in May 2010.


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Unisys is the incumbent contractor on the infrastructure work for TSA, having won the contract in 2002 to build the information technology infrastructure for the fledgling agency. Over the years, the contract has pulled in around $2 billion in revenue for Unisys.

A GAO official said if Unisys wants to continue to fight for the contract, it will need to file with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

A Unisys spokesman said the company is still reviewing GAO’s decision and could not comment further. The company said it is disappointed in the decision but is proud of the work it has done for TSA.

The TSA contract, known as the IT Infrastructure Program, was first awarded to CSC in September 2009. The losing bidders, Unisys and General Dynamics Corp., filed protests, which GAO upheld, recommending that TSA reevaluate the bids.

With the second go around, TSA again awarded the contract to CSC, and Unisys again protested. Unisys claimed that TSA assigned too much risk to part of its proposal and made an “unreasonable price/technical tradeoff” in its decision.

GAO said it could not find evidence to support Unisys’ claim and denied the protest.

Unisys’ bid was priced at $396.9 million, compared to CSC’s $448 million bid, but pricing was only one factor in TSA’s decision. CSC scored higher than Unisys in its technical approach. Specifically, CSC scored higher in the IT security and solutions delivery factors.

In the rest of the evaluation criteria, both companies were judged to be “acceptable.”

The contract runs for five years and is to provide a broad range of IT services. It was awarded as task order under the Homeland Security Department’s EAGLE contract. CSC reportedly will begin work on Sept. 1.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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