B-159758, OCT. 3, 1966

B-159758: Oct 3, 1966

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TO AMPEX CORPORATION: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 21. THE CITED REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL WAS ISSUED ON A SOLE-SOURCE BASIS TO RCA AND CALLED FOR THE FURNISHING OF ONE TRANSISTOR VIDEO PLAYER. THE DETERMINATION TO NEGOTIATE WAS BASED ON THE FACT THAT NO OTHER FIRM COULD SATISFY THE PARTICULAR NEED PECULIAR TO THE EXISTING CLOSED CIRCUIT TV SYSTEM AT FORT MONMOUTH. YOU CONTEND THAT THE PROCUREMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE BY FORMAL ADVERTISING AND THAT A SOLE-SOURCE NEGOTIATED AWARD TO RCA IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW OR REGULATION BECAUSE AMPEX VR 1100PB AND THE RCA TR-3 ARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL TRANSVERSE SCAN RECORDERS UTILIZING EIA AND SMPTE STANDARDS FOR RECORDING AND PLAYBACK OF VIDEO TAPE.

B-159758, OCT. 3, 1966

TO AMPEX CORPORATION:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 21, 1966, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO THE RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA (RCA) UNDER REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP) NO. AMC/E/28-043-66- 01857/N) ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND, FORT MONMOUTH, NEW JERSEY.

THE CITED REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL WAS ISSUED ON A SOLE-SOURCE BASIS TO RCA AND CALLED FOR THE FURNISHING OF ONE TRANSISTOR VIDEO PLAYER, SPECIFICALLY CITING RCA TYPE TR-3, MI-ES-43570-A, TO INCLUDE ONE EACH AIR BEARING CONVERSION KIT, RCA MI-43276; COMPRESSOR AND AIR BEARING HEADWHEEL PANEL ASSEMBLY, RCA MI-40799; AND PIXLOCK ASSEMBLY RCA MI 43354.

PRIOR TO ISSUING THE RFP THE CONTRACTING OFFICER MADE A DETERMINATION AND FINDINGS PERMITTING PROCUREMENT OF THE RCA EQUIPMENT BY NEGOTIATION PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) AND PARAGRAPHS 3 210.2 (I) AND (XIII) OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION. THE DETERMINATION TO NEGOTIATE WAS BASED ON THE FACT THAT NO OTHER FIRM COULD SATISFY THE PARTICULAR NEED PECULIAR TO THE EXISTING CLOSED CIRCUIT TV SYSTEM AT FORT MONMOUTH, WITHOUT INCURRING SHORT AND LONG TERM ADDITIONAL EXPENSES, DELAYS AND DUPLICATION OF EFFORT BY OPERATING PERSONNEL.

IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1966, ADDRESSED TO THE DIRECTOR OF PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, YOU CONTEND THAT THE PROCUREMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE BY FORMAL ADVERTISING AND THAT A SOLE-SOURCE NEGOTIATED AWARD TO RCA IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW OR REGULATION BECAUSE AMPEX VR 1100PB AND THE RCA TR-3 ARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL TRANSVERSE SCAN RECORDERS UTILIZING EIA AND SMPTE STANDARDS FOR RECORDING AND PLAYBACK OF VIDEO TAPE. YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT YOUR VR-1100PB AND THE RCA TR-3 ARE WIDELY USED THROUGHOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS FOR TRAINING AND CLOSED CIRCUIT EDUCATIONAL APPLICATION AND THAT YOUR EQUIPMENT COMPARES IN ALL MATERIAL RESPECTS TO THE RCA TR-3.

THE MATTER WHETHER A PROCUREMENT SHOULD BE ADVERTISED OR NEGOTIATED IS PRIMARILY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION. IN JUSTIFICATION FOR NEGOTIATING THE INSTANT PROCUREMENT ON A SOLE-SOURCE BASIS IT IS REPORTED THAT THE RCA TR-3 TRANSISTOR VIDEO TAPE PLAYER WAS THE ONLY KNOWN EQUIPMENT WHICH POSSESSED CERTAIN SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS NECESSARY FOR THE GOVERNMENT'S INTENDED APPLICATION. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT A COMPETITIVE MACHINE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COMPATIBLE WITH THE EXISTING UNITS BEING USED; THAT THE PURCHASE OF A COMPETITIVE MACHINE WOULD REQUIRE THE PURCHASE OF THREE NEW HEADWHEEL PANELS AT A COST OF $2,000 EACH AS WELL AS THE REPLACEMENT OF OPERATION SPARE PARTS WHICH ARE PRESENTLY STOCKED; AND THAT SINCE SPACE WAS A MAIN FACTOR THE RCA EQUIPMENT WAS REQUIRED BECAUSE IT IS APPROXIMATELY ONE-HALF THE WIDTH OF YOUR MODEL.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE EXPLANATION GIVEN RESTRICTING THE PROCUREMENT TO RCA EQUIPMENT, WE AGREE WITH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT CAN BE ADEQUATELY SUPPLIED ONLY BY ONE SOURCE AND, THEREFORE, ADVERTISING FOR BIDS WOULD SERVE NO USEFUL PURPOSE. WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) WHICH AUTHORIZE NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACTS ,FOR PROPERTY OR SERVICES FOR WHICH IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN COMPETITION" CLEARLY COVER SITUATIONS NOT ONLY WHERE IT MAY HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN COMPETITION BUT ALSO THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENTS HAVE MADE REASONABLE DETERMINATIONS TO THE EFFECT THAT IT WOULD NOT BE PRACTICAL OR FEASIBLE TO MAKE AN AWARD PURSUANT TO FORMAL ADVERTISING FOR COMPETITIVE BIDS. FURTHERMORE, WE ARE ALSO OF THE OPINION THAT THE DETERMINATION AND FINDINGS ISSUED IN THIS INSTANCE MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10). UNDER 10 U.S.C. 2310 SUCH DETERMINATION AND THE FINDINGS IN SUPPORT THEREOF ARE FINAL.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND CONSIDERING THAT RCA HAS DELIVERED THE EQUIPMENT AND FINAL PAYMENT IS CURRENTLY IN PROCESS, WE FIND NO PROPER BASIS FOR QUESTIONING THE NEGOTIATION OF THE CONTRACT.