B-172100, JUN 28, 1971

B-172100: Jun 28, 1971

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PROTESTANT'S UNPRICED TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED AFTER WRITTEN AND ORAL DISCUSSIONS DUE TO ITS FAILURE TO GIVE A BREAKDOWN OF MAINTENANCE HOURS OR PROVIDE SATISFACTORY DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF PERFORMANCE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. PROTESTANT'S INABILITY TO DEMONSTRATE PROFICIENCY IN SUCH AREAS SUPPORTS THE BOARD'S TECHNICAL FINDINGS AND SUCH A DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE DISTURBED BY GAO ABSENT A CLEAR SHOWING OF UNREASONABLENESS OR FAVORITISM ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY. TO CTC COMPUTER CORPORATION THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTERS DATED MARCH 4 AND APRIL 21. WHICH IS USED FOR TESTING OF WEAPONRY AND HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED AUGMENTATION EQUIPMENT. THE PROCUREMENT WAS ACCOMPLISHED IN TWO STEPS PURSUANT TO NEGOTIATION PROCEDURES: (1) SUBMISSION AND EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS.

B-172100, JUN 28, 1971

BID PROTEST - DEFICIENT TECHNICAL PROPOSAL - TWO STEP PROCUREMENT DECISION DENYING PROTEST AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER FIRM UNDER A TWO STEP PROCUREMENT FOR TECHNICAL NONPERSONAL SERVICES TO SUPPORT THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE BQM - 34A/F DRONE LAUNCH PROGRAM SOUGHT BY ENT AIR FORCE BASE. PROTESTANT'S UNPRICED TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS REJECTED AFTER WRITTEN AND ORAL DISCUSSIONS DUE TO ITS FAILURE TO GIVE A BREAKDOWN OF MAINTENANCE HOURS OR PROVIDE SATISFACTORY DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF PERFORMANCE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. PROTESTANT'S INABILITY TO DEMONSTRATE PROFICIENCY IN SUCH AREAS SUPPORTS THE BOARD'S TECHNICAL FINDINGS AND SUCH A DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE DISTURBED BY GAO ABSENT A CLEAR SHOWING OF UNREASONABLENESS OR FAVORITISM ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY.

TO CTC COMPUTER CORPORATION

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTERS DATED MARCH 4 AND APRIL 21, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANOTHER FIRM UNDER LETTER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS (LRFTP) NO. F05604-71-R 0001, ISSUED BY ENT AIR FORCE BASE, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO.

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE PROPOSED TO PROCURE BY NEGOTIATION, TECHNICAL NONPERSONAL SERVICES TO SUPPORT THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE BQM - 34A/F DRONE LAUNCH PROGRAM AT TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE. THIS PROGRAM INVOLVES THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAINTAINING, LAUNCHING, OPERATING, CONTROLLING AND RECOVERING THE FIREBEE DRONE, WHICH IS USED FOR TESTING OF WEAPONRY AND HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED AUGMENTATION EQUIPMENT, AND FOR TACTICAL AND DEFENSIVE AIR-TO-AIR TARGET FIRING PRACTICE. THE PROCUREMENT WAS ACCOMPLISHED IN TWO STEPS PURSUANT TO NEGOTIATION PROCEDURES: (1) SUBMISSION AND EVALUATION OF TECHNICAL PROPOSALS, WITHOUT PRICING INFORMATION, TO DETERMINE THE ACCEPTABILITY OF THE SERVICES AND SUPPLIES OFFERED; AND (2) SUBMISSION OF PRICE PROPOSALS ONLY BY THOSE FIRM WHO SUBMITTED ACCEPTABLE TECHNICAL PROPOSALS. SEE ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION (ASPR) 3 805.1(C).

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT WRITTEN AND ORAL DISCUSSIONS WERE CONDUCTED WITH YOUR FIRM, BUT THAT YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WAS ULTIMATELY DETERMINED TO BE UNACCEPTABLE. BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17, 1971, THE AIR FORCE ADVISED YOU THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE YOUR COMPANY HAD NOT DEMONSTRATED THAT YOU POSSESSED THE REQUIRED UNDERSTANDING AND TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROGRAM; THAT YOU DID NOT HAVE ANY APPARENT EXPERIENCE IN OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE TYPE CONTRACTS; AND THAT, SINCE YOU CONTEMPLATED MANNING THE PROGRAM WITH THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR'S PERSONNEL, AND SINCE YOU LACKED IN-DEPTH CAPABILITY WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATION, THE PROGRAM COULD BE JEOPARDIZED IF IMMEDIATE ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCED MANNING BECAME NECESSARY. ACCORDINGLY, A PRICE PROPOSAL WAS NOT SOLICITED FROM YOUR FIRM.

BRIEFLY STATED, IT IS YOUR POSITION THAT THE GOVERNMENT ACTION IN REFUSING TO FIND YOUR PROPOSAL TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE WAS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS, SINCE YOUR FIRM HAS RECOGNIZED MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE AND CAPABILITIES WITH AN IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE OF THE SPECIFIC PROCUREMENT, AND SINCE YOU PROPOSED TO EMPLOY TRADITIONAL AND ACCEPTED METHODS FOR STAFFING THE PROGRAM WITH THE INCUMBENT PERSONNEL.

THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER A PROPOSAL IS TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE AND WILL SATISFY THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT IS PRIMARILY A FUNCTION OF THE PROCURING AGENCY. WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT SUCH A DETERMINATION IS NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION BY OUR OFFICE UNLESS IT IS CLEARLY SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ARBITRARY, CAPRICIOUS OR MADE IN BAD FAITH. B-164165, AUGUST 13, 1968.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT AFTER INITIAL REVIEW OF YOUR PROPOSAL YOU WERE REQUESTED TO SUPPLY CLARIFICATION IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

1. RETENTION OF INCUMBENT PERSONNEL.

2. DESCRIPTION OF HOW YOU WOULD HANDLE A MAXIMUM LAUNCH SCHEDULE.

3. YOUR INTERPRETATION OF TEST PROJECT SUPPORT REQUIREMENTS.

SINCE, UPON EVALUATION, YOUR WRITTEN RESPONSE WAS DETERMINED TO BE UNSATISFACTORY YOU WERE REQUESTED TO DISCUSS YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL WITH THE AIR FORCE EVALUATION BOARD. YOUR REPRESENTATIVE MET WITH THE BOARD ON FEBRUARY 4, 1971. SINCE YOU INTENDED TO HIRE THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR'S PERSONNEL, THE AVAILABILITY OF SUCH PERSONNEL WAS DISCUSSED, AS WAS YOUR FIRM'S EXPERIENCE IN OPERATING AND MAINTAINING DRONES OR SIMILAR EQUIPMENT. YOUR REPRESENTATIVE INDICATED TO THE AIR FORCE THAT YOUR FIRM POSSESSED SUFFICIENT APPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT FROM THE INCUMBENT'S PERSONNEL AND OTHER QUALIFIED PERSONNEL. HE ALSO DISCUSSED HIS EXECUTIVE AND MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE AND THAT OF ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OF YOUR FIRM, BOTH OF WHOM HAD BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM AS EMPLOYEES OF THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR. YOUR REPRESENTATIVE WAS ASKED THE EXTENT OF EXPERIENCE YOUR FIRM HAD IN THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF DRONES OR SIMILAR EQUIPMENT, AND HIS ANSWER WAS THAT THE COMPANY ITSELF HAD NO EXPERIENCE AND THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE RESTED BETWEEN HIMSELF AND THE OTHER FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE INCUMBENT CONTRACTOR.

THE BOARD ALSO REQUESTED A BREAKOUT OF THE MAINTENANCE HOURS FOR THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:

1. A DRONE TO BE UNCRATED AND READIED FOR LAUNCH.

2. LAND RECOVERY WITH MAJOR DAMAGE.

3. LAND RECOVERY WITH MINOR DAMAGE.

4. WATER RECOVERY.

5. A DRONE CONFIGURED WITH THE INK AND HOT POD AUGMENTATION GEAR.

YOUR REPRESENTATIVE INDICATED THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO COMPLY BECAUSE HE DID NOT KNOW THE INFORMATION REQUESTED. ALSO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE WAS UNABLE TO SUPPLEMENT YOUR PROPOSAL WITH A DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF HOW YOUR FIRM WOULD PERFORM OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE FOR THE LAST FOUR OF THE ABOVE FIVE SITUATIONS. IN THE ALTERNATIVE, YOUR FIRM SUBSEQUENTLY SUBMITTED A STATEMENT AGREEING TO PROVIDE WHATEVER MANNING MIGHT BE REQUIRED TO SATISFACTORILY PERFORM THE CONTRACT TASKS. IN ADDITION, YOU PROPOSED THAT ANY DISAGREEMENT AS TO THE NUMBER OF PERSONNEL REQUIRED WOULD BE RESOLVED PURSUANT TO THE CONTRACT'S DISPUTES CLAUSE, AND THAT THE NECESSARY PERSONNEL FOR ACCOMPLISHING THE CONTRACT TASKS WOULD BE PROVIDED AT THE CONTRACT PRICE.

IT APPEARS THAT THE REASONS FOR DETERMINING THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS UNACCEPTABLE INCLUDE THE FACT THAT YOU FAILED TO GIVE A BREAKOUT OF THE MAINTENANCE HOURS, OR PROVIDE SATISFACTORY DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF HOW YOU WOULD PERFORM OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE, FOR THE ABOVE SITUATIONS. ALTHOUGH YOU AGREED TO PROVIDE WHATEVER MANNING MIGHT BE REQUIRED TO SATISFACTORILY PERFORM THE CONTRACT TASKS, WE BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT COULD PROPERLY REQUIRE YOU TO DEMONSTRATE, AS A PART OF YOUR PROPOSAL, A REASONABLE UNDERSTANDING OF THE NECESSARY TASKS, AND THE TIME REQUIRED TO PERFORM THOSE TASKS, IN ORDER TO EVALUATE YOUR PROPOSAL AS ACCEPTABLE. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS STILL CONSIDERED DEFICIENT AND UNACCEPTABLE, AFTER WRITTEN AND ORAL DISCUSSIONS, AS YOUR PRESENTATIONS DID NOT DEMONSTRATE TO THE BOARD'S SATISFACTION A PROFICIENCY IN SUCH AREAS.

AS STATED ABOVE, AN AGENCY DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER A PROPOSAL IS TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE WILL NOT BE DISTURBED BY OUR OFFICE UNLESS THERE IS A CLEAR SHOWING OF UNREASONABLENESS OR FAVORITISM ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY. FOR THE REASONS INDICATED, WE DO NOT FEEL THAT SUCH A SHOWING HAS BEEN MADE IN THIS CASE.

ACCORDINGLY, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.