B-172898, SEP 27, 1971

B-172898: Sep 27, 1971

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IT IS NOTED THAT AMENDMENT NO. 3 DID NOT ADVISE OFFERORS THAT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE CLOSED BY MARCH 23. NOR WERE OFFERORS ADVISED THAT ANY REVISIONS RECEIVED AFTER THAT DATE WOULD BE TREATED AS LATE PROPOSALS. SINCE A REVIEW OF THE RECORD FAILS TO INDICATE THAT DISCLOSURE OF THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR WAS MADE TO ANYONE OTHER THAN RAYTHEON. IT IS APPARENT THAT THEY CANNOT NOW CLAIM TO BE PREJUDICED BY THAT DISCLOSURE. TO GADSBY & HANNAH: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 9. AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE RFQ WAS ISSUED. AMENDMENT NO. 2 TO THE RFQ WAS ISSUED. THE INITIAL QUOTATIONS OF THE OFFERORS WERE RECEIVED AND. NEGOTIATIONS WERE CONDUCTED WITH ALL OFFERORS. AMENDMENT NO. 3 WAS ISSUED ON MARCH 16.

B-172898, SEP 27, 1971

BID PROTEST - CLOSING DATE - DISCLOSURE OF SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR - AUCTION TECHNIQUE DENIAL OF PROTEST ON BEHALF OF THE RAYTHEON COMPANY AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER FIRM UNDER AN RFQ ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, FOR A REQUIREMENT OF MISSILE GUIDANCE UNITS. IT IS NOTED THAT AMENDMENT NO. 3 DID NOT ADVISE OFFERORS THAT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE CLOSED BY MARCH 23, 1971, NOR WERE OFFERORS ADVISED THAT ANY REVISIONS RECEIVED AFTER THAT DATE WOULD BE TREATED AS LATE PROPOSALS. A PRIOR PRACTICE OF CLOSING NEGOTIATION WITHOUT COMPLIANCE WITH ASPR 3-805.1(B) CANNOT OPERATE TO PERMIT OR REQUIRE A CONTINUATION OF SUCH PRACTICE IN SUBSEQUENT PROCUREMENTS. SINCE A REVIEW OF THE RECORD FAILS TO INDICATE THAT DISCLOSURE OF THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR WAS MADE TO ANYONE OTHER THAN RAYTHEON, IT IS APPARENT THAT THEY CANNOT NOW CLAIM TO BE PREJUDICED BY THAT DISCLOSURE. ACCORDINGLY, THE COMP. GEN. DOES NOT BELIEVE A CONTINUATION OF NEGOTIATIONS IN THIS CASE WOULD CONSTITUTE AN AUCTION TECHNIQUE. SINCE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY HAS NOT INDICATED AN INTENT TO MAKE AN AWARD UPON THE RECEIPT OF AN OFFER SUBMITTED AFTER THE ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENT NO. 3, GAO PERCEIVES NO BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE QUESTION OF THE ALLEGED EXISTENCE OF SUCH OFFER HAS ANY LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE NAVY MAY CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS WITH ALL OFFERORS AT THE PRESENT TIME.

TO GADSBY & HANNAH:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 9, 1971, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING ON BEHALF OF THE RAYTHEON COMPANY AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER FIRM UNDER REQUEST FOR QUOTATIONS (RFQ) N00019-71-Q-0036, ISSUED BY THE NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND ON DECEMBER 23, 1970, WITH A CLOSING DATE OF JANUARY 22, 1971, FOR A REQUIREMENT OF MISSILE GUIDANCE UNITS.

ON JANUARY 15, 1971, AMENDMENT NO. 1 TO THE RFQ WAS ISSUED, WHICH ESTABLISHED AN EVALUATION FORMULA FOR USE OF GOVERNMENT PRODUCTION AND RESEARCH PROPERTY, FIRST ARTICLE TESTING PROVISIONS, AND A REVISED DATE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS OF JANUARY 29, 1971.

ON JANUARY 29, 1971, AMENDMENT NO. 2 TO THE RFQ WAS ISSUED, UPDATING A BASELINE CONFIGURATION LIST AND EXTENDING THE DATE FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS TO FEBRUARY 12, 1971.

ON FEBRUARY 12, 1971, THE INITIAL QUOTATIONS OF THE OFFERORS WERE RECEIVED AND, SUBSEQUENTLY, NEGOTIATIONS WERE CONDUCTED WITH ALL OFFERORS. THEREAFTER, AMENDMENT NO. 3 WAS ISSUED ON MARCH 16, 1971, MAKING NUMEROUS REVISIONS TO THE RFQ, INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY TO REVISE OR CONFIRM PRICES:

"IN VIEW OF THIS AMENDMENT, EACH OFFEROR IS HEREBY AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVISE OR CONFIRM HIS PRICE. CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT OF THIS AMENDMENT IS REQUIRED.

"THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS REASON TO BELIEVE THAT A MISTAKE MAY HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE QUOTED PRICE OF ITEM THREE. ACCORDINGLY, EACH OFFEROR IS REQUESTED TO CLOSELY REVIEW ANY REVISION OR CONFIRMATION OF PRICE FOR SAID ITEM.

"THE AFOREMENTIONED PRICE REVISION OR CONFIRMATION REQUEST SHALL BE FURNISHED THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ON OR BEFORE 10:00 A.M. E.S.T., 23 MARCH 1971."

RESPONSES TO AMENDMENT NO. 3 WERE RECEIVED BY THE CLOSING DATE OF MARCH 23, 1971. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE COMMAND ISSUED AMENDMENT NO. 4 TO THE RFQ ON MAY 4, 1971, WHICH IS QUOTED IN PERTINENT PART:

"BY AMENDMENT NUMBER 3 ALL OFFERORS WERE ADVISED OF CERTAIN CHANGES TO THE SUBJECT REQUEST FOR QUOTATION AND, BY REASON THEREOF, EACH OFFEROR WAS AFFORDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVISE AND CONFIRM HIS PRICE.

"BASED UPON THE RESPONSES TO THE REQUEST FOR PRICE REVISIONS OR CONFIRMATIONS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER BEGAN THE NECESSARY STEPS TO PREPARE FOR CONTRACT AWARD TO THE OFFEROR WHICH HE BELIEVED WOULD BE THE RESULT OF COMPETITION. HOWEVER, PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF NECESSARY INTERMEDIATE STEPS, INCLUDING A REQUEST TO ALL OFFERORS FOR A BEST AND FINAL OFFER, AND THE SECURING OF APPROVAL FROM HIGHER GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY, INFORMATION REGARDING THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S EXPECTATION AS TO THE AWARD WAS INADVERTENTLY DISCLOSED THUS REVEALING WHICH OFFERED PRICE WAS THE LOW.

"IN ORDER TO CORRECT THE ABOVE SITUATION AND ADVISE EACH PARTY FULLY, IDENTICAL LETTERS ARE BEING SENT TO ALL OFFERORS. TO CONCLUDE THE COMPETITION WITH SEVERAL SOURCES WITH RESPECT TO THE PROCUREMENT COVERED BY REQUEST FOR QUOTATION (RFQ) N00019-71-Q-0036, IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU CONFIRM OR REVISE YOUR PRICE PROPOSAL TO PROVIDE YOUR BEST AND FINAL OFFER.

FAILURE TO RESPOND TO THIS LETTER WILL BE CONSIDERED TO MEAN THAT YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE CONSIDERED FURTHER FOR AWARD OF A CONTRACT UNDER THIS RFQ.

"AN ORIGINAL AND ONE (1) COPY OF YOUR LETTER IS TO BE SUBMITTED IN A SEALED ENVELOPE AND ENCLOSED IN A MAILING ENVELOPE, *** , BY 10:00 A.M., D.S.T. ON 10 MAY 1971, *** . ANY REPLY RECEIVED AFTER THE TIME AND DATE SPECIFIED WILL BE TREATED AS A LATE QUOTATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 'LATE QUOTATIONS' PROVISIONS OF THE SUBJECT RFQ. UNLESS THIS COMMAND FINDS IT NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE TO CONTACT YOU FURTHER, NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE FURNISHED UNTIL AN AWARD IS MADE."

ON MAY 7, 1971, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ISSUED A WIRE WHICH CANCELLED AMENDMENT NO. 4.

THEREAFTER, GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY FILED A PROTEST WITH THIS OFFICE AGAINST AN AWARD TO ANY OTHER OFFEROR. THIS PROTEST WAS WITHDRAWN ON MAY 20.

YOUR PROTEST UNDER DATE OF JUNE 9 AND 18 ALLEGED THAT AMENDMENT NO. 3 WAS INTENDED TO ESTABLISH MARCH 23 AS THE CUT-OFF DATE FOR MODIFICATIONS TO PROPOSALS, AND THAT THE COMMAND AND ALL OFFERORS SO UNDERSTOOD IT SINCE A SIMILAR PROCEDURE HAD BEEN FOLLOWED IN PRIOR PROCUREMENTS OF THE SAME ITEMS. ADDITIONALLY, YOU ALLEGED THAT ANOTHER OFFEROR HAD SUBMITTED A REVISION TO HIS PRICE PROPOSAL AFTER MARCH 23; THAT SUCH REVISION MUST BE CONSIDERED A LATE MODIFICATION WHICH COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 3-506(C); AND THAT ANY ATTEMPT AT FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT CONSIDERATION, OR RESUBMISSION, OF SUCH LATE MODIFICATION, ESPECIALLY IN VIEW OF THE INFORMATION TO OTHER OFFERORS AS SET OUT IN AMENDMENT NO. 4, WOULD CONSTITUTE AN AUCTION TECHNIQUE, WHICH IS PROHIBITED BY ASPR 3-805.1(B) AND BY THE DECISIONS OF OUR OFFICE. VIEW THEREOF, YOUR PROTEST ASKED THAT AN AWARD BE MADE TO RAYTHEON AT ITS MARCH 23 PROPOSED PRICE.

ON JUNE 30, 1971, THE COMMAND ADVISED THIS OFFICE THAT IT PROPOSED TO HOLD FURTHER DISCUSSIONS WITH ALL OFFERORS, PURSUANT TO AN AMENDMENT TO THE RFQ WHICH WOULD INCLUDE A PROVISION PERMITTING EVALUATION OF THE PRICES PROPOSED FOR THE OPTION QUANTITIES OF THE PROCUREMENT FOR PURPOSES OF AWARD. THE COMMAND FURTHER STATED THAT SUCH ACTION WAS BASED ON INFORMATION RECENTLY RECEIVED FROM THE USING ACTIVITY.

BY YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 2, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, YOU TOOK ISSUE WITH THE JUSTIFICATION ADVANCED BY THE COMMAND FOR ITS PROPOSED ACTION. THEREAFTER, UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 27 THE COMMAND NOTIFIED THIS OFFICE THAT IT WAS IN RECEIPT OF INFORMATION RELATING TO THE PROPRIETY OF EVALUATING THE OPTIONS IN ADDITION TO THAT RECEIVED FROM THE USING ACTIVITY IN THE LATTER PART OF JUNE. IN THIS REGARD, THE COMMAND STATED THAT THE NATURE OF THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WAS SUCH THAT IT CAST DOUBT UPON THE ADVISABILITY OF EVALUATING THE OPTIONS AND, AS A RESULT, THE COMMAND WAS NOW UNABLE TO RESOLVE TO ITS OWN SATISFACTION THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE OPTION PRICES SHOULD BE EVALUATED FOR AWARD PURPOSES. ACCORDINGLY, WE WERE ADVISED BY THE COMMAND THAT THE OPTIONS WOULD REMAIN UNEVALUATED UNLESS FURTHER INFORMATION WAS RECEIVED FROM THE USING ACTIVITY WHICH DICTATE OTHERWISE.

HOWEVER, THE COMMAND ALSO STATED THAT, IN VIEW OF THE ELAPSED TIME AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS SINCE NEGOTIATIONS HAD ENDED, IT STILL BELIEVED FURTHER DISCUSSIONS WERE NECESSARY UNDER THE SUBJECT RFQ TO DISCUSS DELIVERY TERMS AND CERTAIN PRICING ASPECTS WITH ALL OFFERORS AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE GRANTING OF A BUSINESS CLEARANCE FOR THIS PROCUREMENT. IN ADDITION, THE COMMAND STATED THAT THE EXISTING DELIVERY SCHEDULE WAS PREDICATED UPON AN AWARD HAVING BEEN MADE BY JUNE 1, 1971, AND THEREFORE, THE SCHEDULE HAD BEEN RENDERED MEANINGLESS. FURTHERMORE, THE COMMAND INDICATED, THAT WHILE IT WAS NOT NECESSARY THAT IT DO SO, FURTHER DISCUSSIONS WOULD ALSO FOCUS UPON, AND ANY RESULTING CONTRACT WOULD MAKE PROVISIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF, EXECUTIVE ORDER 11615 OF AUGUST 15, 1971.

IN REPLY, YOU HAVE ADVISED THAT RAYTHEON WILL STILL ACCEPT THE ORIGINAL DELIVERY SCHEDULE, AS WELL AS APPROPRIATE PROVISIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 11615, AND THAT FURTHER NEGOTIATION IS THEREFORE UNNECESSARY. YOU AGAIN ALLEGE THAT THE REASONS ADVANCED BY THE COMMAND FOR RESUMING NEGOTIATIONS ARE WITHOUT MERIT AND THAT THE TRUE PURPOSE OF FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS IS THE COMMAND'S DESIRE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A PRICE MODIFICATION WHICH WAS RECEIVED AFTER THE INITIAL CUT-OFF DATE OF MARCH 23 ESTABLISHED BY AMENDMENT NO. 3 TO THE RFQ. YOU REPEAT THAT CONSIDERATION OF SUCH A LATE MODIFICATION WOULD BE PROHIBITED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ASPR 3-506(C), AND THAT THERE IS NO VALID REASON FOR REOPENING NEGOTIATIONS, AFTER THE CUT-OFF DATE FOR RECEIPT OF MODIFICATIONS AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERMITTING CONSIDERATION OR RESUBMISSION OF A LATE MODIFICATION.

FROM THE FOREGOING, WE BELIEVE THAT THE INITIAL QUESTION WHICH MUST BE DECIDED IS WHETHER AMENDMENT NO. 3 DID EFFECTIVELY ESTABLISH MARCH 23 AS THE CUT-OFF DATE FOR RECEIPT OF FINAL MODIFICATIONS TO PROPOSALS. IN THIS CONNECTION, NAVY'S REPORT DATED SEPTEMBER 24 ADVISES THAT IT HAS BEEN THE DEPARTMENT'S POSITION EVER SINCE MAY 11 THAT MARCH 23 DID NOT CONSTITUTE A CUT-OFF DATE BECAUSE MODIFICATION NO. 3 DID NOT COMPLY WITH ASPR 3- 805.1(B). THAT REGULATION PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

" *** WHENEVER NEGOTIATIONS ARE CONDUCTED WITH SEVERAL OFFERORS, WHILE SUCH NEGOTIATIONS MAY BE CONDUCTED SUCCESSIVELY, ALL OFFERORS SELECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH NEGOTIATIONS *** SHALL BE OFFERED AN EQUITABLE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT SUCH PRICE, TECHNICAL, OR OTHER REVISIONS IN THEIR PROPOSALS AS MAY RESULT FROM THE NEGOTIATIONS. ALL SUCH OFFERORS SHALL BE INFORMED OF THE SPECIFIED DATE (AND TIME IF DESIRED) OF THE CLOSING OF NEGOTIATIONS AND THAT ANY REVISIONS OF THEIR PROPOSALS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY THAT DATE. ALL SUCH OFFERORS SHALL BE INFORMED THAT ANY REVISION RECEIVED AFTER SUCH DATE SHALL BE TREATED AS A LATE PROPOSAL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE 'LATE PROPOSAL' PROVISIONS OF THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS. (IN THE EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE SECRETARY CONCERNED AUTHORIZES CONSIDERATION OF SUCH A LATE PROPOSAL, RESOLICITATION SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE SELECTED OFFERORS WITH WHOM NEGOTIATIONS HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED.) ADDITION, ALL SUCH OFFERORS SHALL ALSO BE INFORMED THAT AFTER THE SPECIFIED DATE FOR THE CLOSING OF NEGOTIATION NO INFORMATION OTHER THAN NOTICE OF UNACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSAL, IF APPLICABLE (SEE 3-508), WILL BE FURNISHED TO ANY OFFEROR UNTIL AWARD HAS BEEN MADE."

WE NOTE THAT AMENDMENT NO. 3 DID NOT ADVISE OFFERORS THAT NEGOTIATIONS WOULD BE CLOSED BY MARCH 23, 1971, NOR WERE OFFERORS ADVISED THAT ANY REVISIONS RECEIVED AFTER THAT DATE WOULD BE TREATED AS LATE PROPOSALS. ALSO, THE NOTICE FAILED TO INFORM THE OFFERORS THAT AFTER THE CLOSING DATE NO INFORMATION OTHER THAN NOTICE OF UNACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSAL WOULD BE FURNISHED UNTIL AWARD.

IN THIS REGARD, WE HAVE TAKEN THE POSITION THAT UNTIL A COMMON CUT OFF FOR FURTHER MODIFICATIONS OF PROPOSALS IS ESTABLISHED FOR ALL OFFERORS, IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT NEGOTIATIONS ARE CLOSED, OR THAT ANY MODIFICATIONS, MADE EITHER VOLUNTARILY OR AS A RESULT OF GOVERNMENT REQUEST, SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED. 50 COMP. GEN. 222 (1970); 48 COMP. GEN. 536 (1969).

ALTHOUGH YOU MAINTAIN THAT PRIOR PROCUREMENTS FOR THESE UNITS HAVE BEEN TERMINATED IN A MANNER SIMILAR TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENT NO. 3 IN THE SUBJECT CASE, THE LANGUAGE OF AMENDMENT NO. 4, WHICH WAS ISSUED PRIOR TO THE RECEIPT OF ANY MODIFICATION DATED LATER THAN MARCH 23, CLEARLY INDICATES THAT THE COMMAND DID NOT BELIEVE IT HAD AS YET ACCOMPLISHED THE INTERMEDIATE STEP OF SOLICITING BEST AND FINAL OFFERS, WHICH WAS A NECESSARY PREREQUISITE TO CONTRACT AWARD. FURTHER, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT A PRIOR PRACTICE OF CLOSING NEGOTIATION WITHOUT COMPLIANCE WITH ASPR 3 805.1(B) CANNOT OPERATE TO EITHER PERMIT OR REQUIRE A CONTINUATION OF SUCH PRACTICE IN SUBSEQUENT PROCUREMENTS. IT FOLLOWS THAT CONSIDERATION OF A MODIFICATION SUBMITTED AFTER MARCH 23 IN THE INSTANT CASE WOULD NOT BE PROHIBITED SIMPLY BECAUSE PROVISIONS SUCH AS THOSE INCLUDED IN AMENDMENT NO. 3 WERE TREATED AS ESTABLISHING A CUT-OFF DATE IN PRIOR PROCUREMENTS. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE INSTANT CASE IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM B-167654, JANUARY 19, 1970, WHICH YOU CITE, AND IN WHICH WE HELD THAT WE WOULD NOT DISTURB AN AWARD RESULTING FROM NEGOTIATIONS WHICH WERE NOT CONCLUDED IN CONFORMITY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF ASPR 3-805.1(B). ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT AMENDMENT NO. 3 DID NOT OPERATE TO ESTABLISH A CUT-OFF DATE FOR RECEIPT OF MODIFICATIONS TO PROPOSALS.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT A CONTINUATION OF NEGOTIATIONS WOULD CREATE AN AUCTION ENVIRONMENT, WE NOTE THAT AMENDMENT NO. 4 DID NOT REVEAL THE STANDING OF THE OFFERORS. RATHER, IT STATED THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER'S EXPECTATION AS TO WHICH COMPANY WOULD BE THE SUCCESSFUL OFFEROR HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY REVEALED. IN THIS REGARD, OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD FAILS TO INDICATE THAT SUCH DISCLOSURE WAS MADE TO ANY OFFEROR OTHER THAN RAYTHEON. IT IS THEREFORE APPARENT THAT RAYTHEON CANNOT NOW MAINTAIN THAT IT WAS PREJUDICED BY THE REVELATION. MOREOVER, THE LANGUAGE OF AMENDMENT NO. 4 DID NOT INDICATE WHETHER RAYTHEON OR ANOTHER OFFEROR HAD SUBMITTED THE LOWEST OFFER. WE THEREFORE BELIEVE THIS CASE IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM B-166019, AUGUST 1, 1969, ON WHICH YOU RELY, AND IN WHICH ONE OF THE OFFERORS WAS PREJUDICED BY THE DISCLOSURE OF THE RELATIVE STANDING OF ITS OFFER TO ANOTHER CONCERN. ACCORDINGLY, WE DO NOT BELIEVE A CONTINUATION OF NEGOTIATIONS IN THE INSTANT CASE WOULD CONSTITUTE AN AUCTION TECHNIQUE.

CONCERNING YOUR CONTENTION THAT ANOTHER OFFEROR HAS SUBMITTED AN UNSOLICITED PRICE REVISION AFTER THE ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENT NO. 3, AND THAT THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT BY ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH OFFER WOULD ALSO BE IMPROPER, THE DEPARTMENT HAS NOT INDICATED TO THIS OFFICE AN INTENT TO MAKE AN AWARD BASED UPON THE RECEIPT OF AN OFFER SUBMITTED AFTER THE ISSUANCE OF AMENDMENT NO. 3. IN VIEW THEREOF, WE PERCEIVE NO BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE QUESTION OF THE ALLEGED EXISTENCE OF SUCH OFFER HAS ANY LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE IN DETERMINING WHETHER THE NAVY MAY CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS WITH ALL OFFERORS AT THE PRESENT TIME. FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH ABOVE YOUR PROTEST AGAINST A CONTINUATION OF NEGOTIATIONS, AND YOUR REQUEST THAT A CONTRACT BE AWARDED TO RAYTHEON, MUST BE DENIED.