Analysis

What now for the Army's $5B ADMC 3 contract?

room of computers

The Army is still trying to get its $5 billion Army Desktop and Mobile Computing 3 contract awarded in the face of protests and counter protests.

In February, the Army made nine awards out of 58 bids and of course was hit with a slew of bid protests. Twenty-one companies in all have since filed protests with the Government Accountability Office.

But before GAO could make a ruling, the Army decided to take a corrective action, leading GAO to dismiss the protests.

When some of the winning companies, particularly Dell, saw what the corrective action was they filed suit with the Court of Federal Claims to ask for the Army to be stopped from implementing the corrective action. 

Dell was joined in its lawsuit by other winning bidders including Blue Tech Inc., Govsmart Inc., Ideal Systems, NCS Technologies, and Red River Computer Co.

Some of the losing bidders, who are incumbents on ADMC 2, also filed countersuits supporting the Army’s corrective action plan. These companies include HP Inc., CDW-G and Insight Public Sector.

The ADMC 3 contract is one of the Army’s main vehicles for purchasing hardware.

The Court of Federal Claims agreed with Dell and the other winning bidders and put an injunction on the Army to stop the branch from implementing the corrective action.

The Army planned to reopen discussions with bidders and get revised proposals including pricing. The pricing issue is the one that seems to have hit the winning bidders the hardest because all of the bidders -- winners and losers -- now know the pricing that the winners submitted in their proposals.

“Those receiving contracts rightly complain that they would be at a significant competitive disadvantage in having to compete again for contracts they had rightly won in the first instance,” Judge Thomas Wheeler wrote in his decision.

Essentially, the Army now has two choices. It can reinstate the original nine awards and fight it out at GAO when the protests roll back in. In fact, one already has.

Or they can try to adjust their corrective action to pass muster with the Court of Federal Claims. This would probably mean not considering pricing.

Wheeler issued his decision July 3 and it is now in the Army’s hands to decide how to respond. I’ve reached out to them but no comment so far.

One company isn’t waiting. PCM-G has filed with GAO asking that its protest be reinstated. PCM-G apparently wants to make sure it doesn’t potentially run afoul of any deadlines. So it is protecting itself against any claims that its protest isn’t timely. I’d expect some of the others to follow suit.

My guess is that the Army will tweak the corrective action, so we are probably still several months away from any new awards.

This article originally appeared in Washington Technology, a sister publication to FCW.

About the Author

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

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