B-164722, SEPT. 13, 1968

B-164722: Sep 13, 1968

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MORRISON AND CURTIS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26. YOU ARE CONCERNED AS TO WHETHER THERE WAS A VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH 3- 507.2 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) WHICH PROHIBITS UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION CONTAINED IN PROPOSALS. YOU STATE: "IT APPEARS TO OUR CLIENT THAT THERE IS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT EQUAL CONSIDERATION AND INFORMATION WAS NOT GIVEN TO ALL PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS AND THAT INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED WHICH PREJUDICED THE BIDS OF OUR CLIENT. THIS CONCLUSION IS BASED PARTLY ON THE VARYING AMOUNTS OF DISCOUNTS RANGING FROM ONE PERCENT (1 PERCENT) TO NINE PERCENT (9 PERCENT) OFFERED BY THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDERS. THERE IS NO APPARENT REASON FOR THE VARYING DISCOUNTS BY THE ABC FOOD SERVICE.

B-164722, SEPT. 13, 1968

TO MORRISON, HECKER, COZAD, MORRISON AND CURTIS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26, 1968, AS ATTORNEYS FOR QUALITY MAINTENANCE COMPANY, INC., PROTESTING EIGHT CONTRACTS FOR MESS ATTENDANT SERVICES (FOOD PREPARATION, SERVING, CLEANING OF EQUIPMENT AND RELATED AREAS, ETC.) NEGOTIATED BY THE NAVY PURCHASING OFFICE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, DURING THE MONTH OF JUNE 1968.

YOU ARE CONCERNED AS TO WHETHER THERE WAS A VIOLATION OF PARAGRAPH 3- 507.2 OF THE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) WHICH PROHIBITS UNAUTHORIZED DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION CONTAINED IN PROPOSALS, AND REQUIRES EQUAL CONSIDERATION AND INFORMATION TO ALL PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS. YOU STATE:

"IT APPEARS TO OUR CLIENT THAT THERE IS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT EQUAL CONSIDERATION AND INFORMATION WAS NOT GIVEN TO ALL PROSPECTIVE CONTRACTORS AND THAT INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED WHICH PREJUDICED THE BIDS OF OUR CLIENT. THIS CONCLUSION IS BASED PARTLY ON THE VARYING AMOUNTS OF DISCOUNTS RANGING FROM ONE PERCENT (1 PERCENT) TO NINE PERCENT (9 PERCENT) OFFERED BY THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDERS. WITHOUT SOME INFORMATION BEING FURNISHED TO THE POTENTIAL SUPPLIER, THERE IS NO APPARENT REASON FOR THE VARYING DISCOUNTS BY THE ABC FOOD SERVICE, INC. ON ITS SEVEN AWARDS.'

IN THAT CONNECTION, YOU CITE FOUR EXAMPLES OF INFORMATION FURNISHED YOUR CLIENT, WHICH EXAMPLES ARE SET OUT AND CONSIDERED IN THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER:

"CONTRACTING OFFICER STATEMENT ON FACTS ON EIGHT MESS ATTENDANT SERVICES CONTRACTS AWARDED IN JUNE 1968"REF: (A) NAVSUP INSTRUCTION 4061.8 OF 7 MAR 1968

(B) LETTER FROM MORRISON, HECKER, COZARD, MORRISON AND CURTIS, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI DATED 26 JUNE 1968 TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

* * * * * * * "1. THIS OFFICE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEGOTIATION OF EIGHT DIFFERENT MESS ATTENDANT SERVICE CONTRACTS FOR VARIOUS NAVAL ACTIVITIES LOCATED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. THESE CONTRACTS WERE TO BECOME EFFECTIVE ON 1 JULY 1968. IT WAS IMPERATIVE THAT AWARD BE MADE AT LEAST 10 DAYS PRIOR TO SUCH DATE IN ORDER TO PERMIT A SMOOTH TRANSITION FROM THE SERVICES UNDER EXPIRING CONTRACTS TO THE NEW ONES. NEW UNIFORM CONTRACT SCHEDULE FORMAT AND INSTRUCTIONS TO BE UTILIZED IN THE CONTRACTING FOR MESS ATTENDANT SERVICES WERE PROMULGATED BY REFERENCE (A). AS SPECIFIED BY REFERENCE (A), THESE CONTRACTS WERE NEGOTIATED UNDER THE AUTHORITY 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) (SEE ASPR 3-210.2 (XIII). COPIES OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S D-AND-F ARE ATTACHED TO THE BUSINESS CLEARANCE MEMORANDUMS ENCLOSED HEREIN. THE BACKGROUND RATIONALE ON THE -WHY- AND THE TECHNIQUE UTILIZED IN THE NEGOTIATION OF SUCH TYPESOF CONTRACTS ARE SET FORTH IN ENCLOSURE (1). THE BASIS FOR AWARD OF THE INDIVIDUAL EIGHT CONTRACTS IS SET FORTH IN ENCLOSURES (6) THROUGH (13).

* * * * * * * "4. IN PART, THE REFERENCE (B) CONCLUSION THAT THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 3-507.2 WERE VIOLATED SEEMS BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT WITHOUT SOME INFORMATION BEING FURNISHED TO THE POTENTIAL SUPPLIER, THERE WAS NO APPARENT REASON FOR THE VARYING DISCOUNTS BY THE ABC FOOD SERVICE, INC. ON ITS SEVEN AWARDS. AS EVIDENCED BY THE ABSTRACTS CONTAINED IN ALL OF THE BUSINESS CLEARANCES, THE PRACTICE OF OFFERING VARYING DISCOUNT RATES IS PREVALENT AMONG MANY OF THE CONTRACTORS IN THIS TYPE OF BUSINESS. FOR EASE OF COMPARISON, ENCLOSURE (4) SHOWS THE PATTERN OF FOUR CONTRACTORS (TWO WINNERS, QMC AND A NONCONTENDER) WHICH DEPICTS:

"/A) CONTRACTORS OFFERED VARYING RATES OF DISCOUNTS APPLICABLE TO DIFFERENT NAVAL ACTIVITIES REQUIREMENTS, BOTH LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR IN THEIR INITIAL BID OR QUOTATION.

"/B) THE SIZE OF DISCOUNTS VARYING FROM A TOKEN TO SUBSTANTIAL.

"/C) IT IS A NORMAL PRACTICE OF ALMOST ALL CONTRACTORS WHEN REVISING THEIR PRICES AS A RESULT OF NEGOTIATION TO DO SO THROUGH A CHANGE IN DISCOUNT RATES IN LIEU OF CHANGING THE BASIC PRICES. ,THERE CAN BE MANY REASONS WHY CONTRACTORS INVOLVED IN THIS TYPE OF HIGHLY COMPETITIVE REQUIREMENT OFFER SUCH VARYING PATTERNS OF DISCOUNT RATES, SUCH AS:

"/1) PRESSURE ON GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES TO PROCESS THEIR INVOICES MORE PROMPTLY OR SUFFER EMBARRASSMENT TO HIGHER AUTHORITIES FOR LOSING LARGE SUMS OF MONEY THROUGH LOST CASH DISCOUNTS. PROMPT PAYMENT OF MONTHLY INVOICES IS A NECESSITY TO THESE CONTRACTORS IN MEETING THEIR OWN MONTHLY PAYROLLS.

"/2) EASY METHOD TO MAKE LATE ADJUSTMENTS IN THEIR QUOTES. IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT MANY OF THESE NATIONALLY KNOWN COMPANIES WERE QUOTING SIMULTANEOUSLY ON MANY RFPS FOR REQUIREMENTS COMMENCING 1 JULY 1968 ISSUED BY VARIOUS DOD PURCHASING OFFICES IN DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. ACCORDINGLY THEY COULD IN SOME INSTANCES APPRAISE CHANGING QUOTATION PATTERNS OF THEIR COMPETITORS WHENEVER AN EARLY ANNOUNCEMENT OF ANY CONTRACTS WERE ISSUED AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO THE EXTENT DEEMED FEASIBLE. IT WAS ALSO MORE ECONOMIC FOR A COMPANY TO OBTAIN SEVERAL CONTRACTS IN THE SAME GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS SO THEY COULD ESTABLISH REGIONAL SUPERVISORS AND PERSONNEL RECRUITMENT OFFICES. ACCORDINGLY, CONTRACTORS AFTER PREPARATION OF ALL QUOTATIONS IN A GENERAL AREA, WOULD REVALUATE AS A GROUP TOWARD SEEING WHERE THEY COULD CUT AGAIN TO BE MORE COMPETITIVE. AS A RESULT THE AMOUNT OF VARIANCE IN REDUCING THE INDIVIDUAL QUOTES RESULTED IN VARYING DISCOUNT RATES WITHIN A GIVEN GEOGRAPHICAL AREA. * * * "5. THE BALANCE OF THE PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE REVEALED IN REFERENCE (B) THAT THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 3-507.2 WERE VIOLATED, RELATES TO DESCRIBING FOUR EXAMPLES OF INFORMATION FURNISHED TO QMC DURING NEGOTIATIONS. THESE EXAMPLES PURPORT THAT THE TYPE OF NEGOTIATIONS CONDUCTED ON THE APPLICABLE PROPOSALS DESCRIBED, DID NOT PERMIT ADEQUATE PRICE COMPETITION. ALL OF THE NEGOTIATIONS IN QUESTION WERE CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 3-805.1 AND UNIFORMALLY APPLIED IN THE MANNER DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 4 OF ENCLOSURE (1). SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON THESE EXAMPLES AS STATED IN REFERENCE (B) ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"A. EXAMPLE NO. 1 STATED: -ONE OF OUR CLIENT'S MANAGERS WAS TOLD BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER THAT QUALITY'S OFFER WAS TOO LOW ON HOURS AND THAT HE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO CHANGE MANNING CHARTS WHICH WOULD AFFECT THE PRICE. SUBSEQUENTLY, HE REVISED OUR CLIENT'S BIDS SO AS TO INCREASE ONE BY $5,000 PER MONTH AND ANOTHER BY $3,000 PER MONTH, AND THE AWARD WAS MADE TO THE BIDDER WITH SUBSTANTIAL CASH DISCOUNTS.-

"COMMENTS: THE INCREASE BY $5,000 REFERS TO THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE AMPHIBIOUS BASE, CORONADO, CALIFORNIA WHICH IS DISCUSSED IN ENCLOSURE (5). IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT QMC WAS NOT THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR FULLY FAMILIAR WITH THE REQUIREMENT AND ORIGINALLY QUOTED UNUSUALLY LOW IN BOTH MAN-HOURS AND PRICE IN COMPARISON WITH ACTIVITY'S AND THE INCUMBENT'S (ABC, INC.) ESTIMATES. AREAS OF DEFICIENT ASSIGNMENT OF MAN-HOURS WERE DISCUSSED DURING NEGOTIATION WITH QMC'S MANAGER, MR. LEROY TOMBS. MR. TOMBS, AFTER REVISING QMC'S PROPOSAL TO REFLECT WHAT HE BELIEVED WOULD PROVIDE ADEQUATE ASSIGNMENT OF MAN-HOURS REVEALED THAT IN RECOMPUTING THE PRICE HE DISCOVERED THAT HE HAD ORIGINALLY MADE AN ERROR IN THE EXTENSION OF THE COMBINED DIRECT ANNUAL SALARY COST OF THE -AM- AND -PM- SUPERVISORS AS ONLY $1,684.80 RATHER THAN $16,848.40. WHILE QMC'S REVISED PRICE UNDERSTANDABLY BECAME HIGHER THAN ABC'S IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT MAN HOURS STILL REMAINED CONSIDERABLY LOWER THAN THE INCUMBENT'S QUOTATION. THE INCREASE BY $3,000 REFERS TO THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE NAVAL AIR STATION, NORTH ISLAND, CALIFORNIA WHICH IS DISCUSSED IN ENCLOSURE (6). SIMILARLY, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT QMC WAS NOT THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR; QUOTED VERY LOW ON MAN-HOURS AND UPON REVISION DID NOT EXCEED ABC'S MAN-HOURS QUOTED.

"B. EXAMPLE NO. 2 STATED: -THE REQUEST FOR THE LONG BEACH NAVAL STATION CONTRACT ON WHICH QUALITY MAINTENANCE COMPANY, INC. IS THE INCUMBENT WAS ORIGINALLY ISSUED IN THREE PARTS. SUBSEQUENTLY, QUALITY WAS TOLD THAT IT WOULD BE ALLOWED TO REBID ALL OF THE WORK UNDER ONE ITEM. QUALITY BID THE HOURS PRESENTLY BEING PERFORMED AND LOST THE AWARD.-

"COMMENTS: THE DETAILS OF THIS REQUIREMENT ARE DISCUSSED IN ENCLOSURE (7) WITH THE PERTINENT POINTS AS APPLICABLE TO THE PURPORTED EXAMPLE BEING:

"/1) QMC WAS INCUMBENT ONLY ON ITEM 1 OF THE THREE PART REQUIREMENT SET FORTH IN THE RFP.

"/2) REP ORIGINALLY REQUESTED ALL COMBINATIONS OF QUOTES ON 3 SEPARATE ITEMS.

"/3) WHEN NEGOTIATING WITH COMPANIES IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE THEY WERE ALL TOLD TO RECONSIDER THE -ALL- COMBINATION QUOTE AS THE ONLY BASIS AND THUS A CONTRACT WOULD BE NEGOTIATED AS ONE TOTAL ITEM.

"/4) AFTER NEGOTIATION, BOTH ABC AND PJK HAD A LOWER TOTAL PRICE WITH COMPARABLE MAN-HOURS TO THAT OF QMC.

"C. EXAMPLE NO. 3 STATED: -ON THE REQUEST FOR THE NAVAL TRAINING CENTER AT SAN DIEGO, QUALITY WAS ADVISED THAT ITS HOURS ON THE CHART NO. 1 AND ITS "MONEY" WERE "TOO HIGH.' QUALITY WAS ALSO THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR ON THIS JOB. IT LOWERED ITS BID CONSIDERABLY BUT FAILED TO OBTAIN THE CONTRACT.-

"COMMENTS: THE DETAILS OF THIS REQUIREMENT ARE DISCUSSED IN ENCLOSURES (8) AND (9) WITH THE PERTINENT POINTS AS APPLICABLE TO THE PURPORTED EXAMPLE BEING:

"/1) SEE EXHIBIT (C) TO ENCLOSURE (8) WHICH LISTS MAJOR AREAS OF DEFICIENT ASSIGNMENT OF MAN-HOURS WHICH WERE DISCUSSED DURING NEGOTIATION WITH PICKETT, ABC AND GERONIMO. THEIR REVISED MAN-HOUR PROPOSALS WERE CONSIDERED ADEQUATE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY PLANNED TO ACCOMPLISH THE WORK.

"/2) THE INCUMBENT'S (QMC) PROPOSAL OF MAN-HOURS WAS CONSIDERED TO BE ADEQUATE OVERALL AND NO SPECIFIC AREAS FOR NEGOTIATION OF MAN-HOURS ADJUSTMENTS WERE DEEMED NECESSARY OR APPROPRIATE. IN COMPARISON WITH OTHER QUOTATIONS RECEIVED IT WAS CONSIDERED THAT QMC'S PRICE WAS HIGH IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE MAN-HOURS QUOTED. ACCORDINGLY QMC WAS ADVISED THAT THEIR MAN-HOURS WERE CONSIDERED NEITHER TOO HIGH OR TOO LOW TO PROVIDE THE REQUIRED CONTRACT PERFORMANCE. THEY WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT THEIR PRICE IN RELATIONSHIP TO MAN-HOURS QUOTED WAS CONSIDERED TOO HIGH IN THE COMPETITIVE RANGE ESTABLISHED THEREFORE THEY COULD REVISE THEIR QUOTATION AS THEY DEEMED APPROPRIATE. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISION OF ASPR 3- 805.1, QMC COULD NOT, AND WAS NOT, APPRAISED OF A FIGURE TO APPROACH OR THEIR RELATIVE STANDING TO OTHERS. QMC'S REDUCTION WAS NOT SUFFICIENT TO DISLODGE THE OTHERWISE LOWEST RESPONSIBLE AND REASONABLE PROPOSAL OF ABC.

"D. EXAMPLE NO. 4 STATED: -THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED THAT THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTORS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO NEGOTIATE, BUT THE AWARD WAS MADE ON THE POINT MUGU PROPOSAL WITHOUT QUALITY HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO NEGOTIATE.-

"COMMENTS: THE DETAILS OF THIS REQUIREMENT ARE DISCUSSED IN ENCLOSURE (10) WITH THE PERTINENT POINTS AS APPLICABLE TO THE PURPORTED EXAMPLE BEING:

"/1) THE LOWEST PRICED ORIGINAL PROPOSAL RECEIVED (ABC) WAS BASED ON A MAN-HOUR PROPOSAL HIGHER THAN QMC AND WAS OTHERWISE DETERMINED TO BE REASONABLE. ACCORDINGLY, IT WOULD NOT BE REASONABLE TO EXPECT A CONTRACTOR TO LOWER HIS PRICE AND RAISE HIS MAN-HOURS SO AS TO RESULT IN A MORE ADVANTAGEOUS PROPOSAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OVER THAT ALREADY OFFERED BY ABC. ACCORDINGLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISION OF ASPR 3-805.1 THE LOWEST PROPOSAL WAS ACCEPTED WITHOUT FURTHER NEGOTIATION WITH THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR (QMC).

"/2) IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THIS YEAR'S REQUIREMENT BEING PROCESSED UNDER NEGOTIATED PROCEDURES AS CONTRASTED TO THE ADVERTISING METHODS USED LAST YEAR, THERE WERE MANY QUESTIONS FROM POTENTIAL OFFERORS PRIOR TO SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS. TO QUESTIONS RAISED BY INCUMBENT CONTRACTORS, THEY WERE ADVISED THAT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE CONDUCTED WITH THEM AFTER OPENING, PROVIDED THERE WAS ANY REASON TO NEGOTIATE, SUCH AS TO OBTAIN CLARIFICATION, POSSIBLE CORRECTION OF APPARENT ERRORS, ETC. HOWEVER, THEY WERE ALSO ADVISED EMPHATICALLY OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S RIGHT TO MAKE AN AWARD ON INITIAL OFFERS RECEIVED, WITHOUT DISCUSSION OF SUCH OFFERS. PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE SOLICITATION INSTRUCTIONS AND CONDITIONS' (FORM SF- 33A) OF THE RFP WAS ALWAYS REFERRED TO THE VENDORS WHENEVER THE SUBJECT OF NEGOTIATION PROCEDURES WERE DISCUSSED.'

IN THE ABSENCE OF DIRECT EVIDENCE OF SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS OF ASPR 3 507.2 BY IDENTIFIABLE NAVY PERSONNEL, WE CONSIDER THE ABOVE COMMENTS OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AS ADEQUATE EXPLANATION FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS CONCERNED IN THE EXAMPLES CITED IN YOUR LETTER, AND AS NEGATING ANY INFERENCE OF PREJUDICE TO YOUR CLIENT IN THE AWARDING OF THE SUBJECT CONTRACTS. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST AGAINST THOSE AWARDS IS DENIED.

CONCERNING YOUR QUESTION OF WHETHER THE CONTRACTS IN QUESTION ARE A TYPE FOR WHICH NEGOTIATION IS PERMITTED UNDER ASPR 3-201 THROUGH 3 217, INCLUSIVE, SUCH CONTRACTS WERE NEGOTIATED PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) WHICH AUTHORIZES THE NEGOTIATION OF CONTRACTS FOR PROPERTY OR SERVICES FOR WHICH IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN COMPETITION. THAT AUTHORITY IS IMPLEMENTED BY ASPR 3-210.2, AND SUBPARAGRAPH (XIII) THEREOF PERMITS USE OF SUCH AUTHORITY WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DRAFT, FOR A SOLICITATION OF BIDS, ADEQUATE SPECIFICATIONS OR ANY OTHER ADEQUATELY DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE REQUIRED SUPPLIES OR SERVICES. IN ACCORDANCE WITH ASPR 3-210.3 A DETERMINATION AND FINDINGS JUSTIFYING USE OF THE ABOVE AUTHORITY WAS PREPARED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND APPROVED IN ADVANCE AT A HIGHER LEVEL FOR EACH OF THE CONTRACTS. SUCH FINDINGS STATE IN PERTINENT PART: "3. IT IS IMPRACTICABLE OT FORMALLY ADVERTISE THIS REQUIREMENT SINCE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DRAFT FOR A SOLICITATION OF BIDS ADEQUATE SPECIFICATIONS OR ANY OTHER DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE REQUIRED SERVICES. WITH MORE PARTICULARITY, THE METHOD OF OPERATING ASSIGNMENT OF PERSONNEL, C., CANNOT BE STATED AS ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENTS WITHOUT FURTHER NEGOTIATION AND CONSIDERATION. THE USE OF TWO-STEP FORMAL ADVERTISING HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AND REJECTED PER ASPR 2-502 (A) (IV) AND NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH INSTRUCTION SET FORTH IN NAVSUPINST 4061.8 DATED 7 MARCH 1968.'

NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND INSTRUCTION 4061.8 OF MARCH 7, 1968, REFERRED TO IN THOSE FINDINGS, REFLECTS A CHANGE IN THE PREVIOUSLY USED FORMALLY ADVERTISED METHOD OF PROCURING MESS ATTENDANT SERVICES AND PROVIDES:

"FIRM FIXED PRICE CONTRACTS EFFECTED BY COMPETITIVE NEGOTIATIONS WILL BE USED TO COVER SERVICES FOR CONTRACT MESSMEN. NEGOTIATION SHOULD BE CONDUCTED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) (SEE ASPR 3-210.2 (XIII) ). * * *" FINDINGS JUSTIFYING THE USE OF THE AUTHORITY PROVIDED BY 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) ARE MADE FINAL BY 10 U.S.C. 2310 (B).

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING WE FIND NO BASIS ON WHICH TO CONCLUDE THAT NEGOTIATION OF THE CONTRACTS IN QUESTION WAS CONTRARY TO THE PERTINENT LAW AND REGULATIONS.