Critical Read

GAO resolves DHS CDM protest

Shutterstock image (by kmlmtz66): businessman confronting a judge's gavel.

(kmlmtz66 / Shutterstock)

What: Government Accountability Office ruling on Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services protest of a contract awarded for the Homeland Security Department's continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) program.

Why: HPES protested the $29 million award made by the General Services Administration to Knowledge Consulting Group (KCG) in March. The award was the first under Phase 1, task order 2 for CDM.

KCG was named the prime contractor to provide DHS's headquarters with a variety of CDM tools, including McAfee’s vulnerability manager and ePolicy Orchestrator tools, ForeScout’s CounterACT’s tool for network access control.

HPES had protested that the agency’s evaluation of its technical approach quotation was improper, and argued that GSA evaluated its quotation consistent with the solicitation, it would not have been assigned a “not acceptable” rating .

GAO said HPES couldn't “demonstrate the possibility of a price/technical tradeoff between its quotation and that of KCG,” and determined that HPES had “failed to establish prejudice from the agency action it protests."

It also found that GSA's technical approach evaluation was "both reasonable and consistent with the solicitation."

GAO explained that the technical approach evaluation factor weighted the vendors' ability to propose a suite of CDM tools that leveraged DHS components’ installed base as a factor, as well as getting a "robust, reliable approach to meeting DHS and DHS component security requirements," under the agency's standardized “One DHS” solution.

Verbatim: "The agency’s evaluation of HPES quotation acknowledged that the protester proposed to leverage the installed base, but the evaluators concluded that the method chosen to do so was based upon inaccurate assumptions and lacked detail."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

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.


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