Incumbent Protest Fails at GAO Allegation of Agency Flawed Technical Evaluation FailsIn a recent case, GAO denied a bid protest filed by CACI Technologies, Inc., of Chantilly, Virginia which challenged the technical evaluation of an award of a task order issued by the Department of the Army, Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) to DynCorp International, LLC. There were previous protests for this procurement. The agency essentially took corrective action.

Protestor Argument About Awardee’s Staffing Plan Fails Before GAO

The after previously taking corrective action, the Army still awarded the contract to DynCorp. CACI’s main dispute in the protests included how the Army rated its staffing plan and also failed to evaluate its transition plan since it had advantages as an incumbent.

Simply because the awardee proposed a reduced staffing approach than the amount being used by CACI, the incumbent, CACI systematically argued that the Army’s mere acceptance of DynCorp’s lower staffing level reflects the application of a “purely mathematical” staffing approach that “fail[s] to take into account site-specific circumstances that establish minimum staffing needs for individual sites.”  GAO’s review of the record showed a different result. 

  • Nothing in the GAO’s decision reflect CACI’s specific details as to why the Army’s evaluation was unreasonable. For example, as the incumbent, the protestor did not put forth any specific and real life examples of how its staffing plan was more adequate and justified.

Instead, CACI’s posture in the protest suggested that DynCorp’s staffing plan lacks adequate detail and is “unreasonably superficial.” GAO has often ruled that a protestor’s mere disagreement with the agency technical evaluation decision is not grounds for a protest.

GAO found that the agency had documented its decision and pointed out that the awardee Staffing Plan adequately discussed its approach for the various site locations and staffing justification for the PWS requirements. GAO found no basis to sustain the protest.

Technical Evaluation of CACI’s Transition Plan

In the bid protest, CACI challenged the Army’s decision to ignore “numerous transition advantages that CACI enjoyed by virtue of its incumbent status.”   The problem here was that CACI appeared to rely on its incumbent status to carry the day.

However, despite CACI’s  incumbent status, the Army simply stuck to the amount of hours it estimated for transitional hours. It had some concern with CACI’s staffing plan and hours of transition. Apparently, CACI did not align itself with the technical approach to implement the transition plan.

Tip for government contractors: Given the result in this case, it would seem viable to stick to the labor categories and total hours for the transition plan. This would stand regardless of being the incumbent contractor.

  • Relying on incumbent status alone without indicating any unique knowledge can pose a great risk when challenging the government’s technical evaluation.

Government independent estimates: its has been a recent trend that when bidders fall below the government independent estimate, there is a chance that the contracting agency will assess a technical risk. Here the government was required, and did, evaluate the protestor’s  technical approach and proposed but still found risks. GAO will not second guess such a decision.

For help or representation in a future bid protest about the agency’s technical evaluation, feel free to contact Watson & Associates, LLC’s CO and Washington DC bid protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518. FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.