Procurement

GAO denies OASIS protest

OASIS logo

The Government Accountability Office has denied an agency-level protest of GSA's $60 billion multiple award services OASIS contract, but the protestor vowed to continue the fight in federal court.

On Jan. 3, GAO struck down complaints made by Aljucar, Anvil-Incus & Co. that the terms of the General Services Administration's request for proposals for its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services contract unduly restricted competition by not allowing small companies to team up to bid for services.

GSA split OASIS into two RFPs -- one aimed at small businesses and the other at larger contractors -- to facilitate both markets. When AAI filed its protest this past summer, Rudy Sutherland, the firm's head of practice, told FCW that the contract split essentially excluded smaller bidders from teaming up to participate in the larger contract, which could prove to be more lucrative.

The contracts could be worth as much as $60 billion over the next 10 years. GSA said in December that the response period for OASIS and OASIS Small Business requests for proposal came to a close in November and it expected to award contracts in early 2014. The protest denial could be the last bit of administrative housekeeping before the contracts are awarded.

In the face of the latest ruling, Sutherland told FCW in an email on Jan. 7 that AAI was in the process of filing a request for reconsideration at GAO, but ultimately believes it will file in the Court of Federal Claims. "The risks of joint venturing is controlled by the free-market and by virtue of sound operating agreements, not by the government picking winners and losers,” he said. “Although it may be at their discretion, there is nothing reasonable about the GSA’s position and we believe the [Court of Federal Claims] will indeed find that it does not pass the logical scrutiny test."

The GAO sees things differently.

"The crux of AAI’s protest is that the RFP is unduly restrictive of competition because the solicitation, with respect to joint venture offerors, limits consideration of experience to that of the joint venture itself," GAO General Counsel Susan Poling wrote in the agency’s ruling. "AAI complains that the solicitation does not allow newly-formed joint venture offerors to satisfy the experience requirements through the experience of the individual members of the joint venture."

Poling wrote that GSA's market research showed that companies without a proven track record in a newly formed joint venture can pose dangers for contracts. She cited a past contract protest involving a company named Valor Construction Management that showed it can be reasonable for an agency to limit consideration of experience to the entity that will hold the contract with the government --  the joint venture itself.

"More importantly, AAI’s argument misses the broader principle on which Valor is based, which is that the determination of a contracting agency’s needs, including the selection of evaluation criteria, is primarily within the agency’s discretion, and we will not object to the use of particular evaluation criteria so long as they reasonably relate to the agency’s needs in choosing a contractor that will best serve the government’s interests," she said.

Sutherland countered that the current GAO ruling "seems contrary to certain executive guidance dating back to 2009 from the White House and OMB over standards to be considered in increasing competitiveness" under the JOBS Act, which required multiple awards contract solicitations to get bids from "any responsible source, including small business concerns and teams or joint ventures of small business concerns.”

OASIS already has at least one commitment from the U.S. Air Force. FCW reported in October that the Air Force had moved to embrace OASIS as a procurement vehicle, with the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center announcing they would use the contracts to get more than $1 billion worth of systems engineering, technical assistance and other services. The Air Force formally signed a memorandum of understanding to use the contract on Dec. 19.  

 

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group