B-173259, SEP 16, 1971

B-173259: Sep 16, 1971

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PROTESTANT'S BID WAS REJECTED BY THE SOURCE SELECTION BOARD AS BEING TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE. GAO WILL NOT OBJECT. WERE EVALUATED BY A DULY CONSTITUTED SOURCE SELECTION BOARD. WAS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND COULD NOT BE MADE ACCEPTABLE BY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR CLARIFICATION WITHOUT BASICALLY CHANGING THE PROPOSAL AS SUBMITTED. BARRETT WAS ADVISED ACCORDINGLY BY LETTER OF JUNE 29. BARRETT'S PROPOSAL WAS DETERMINED TO BE UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE IT DID NOT INSURE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE PROPOSER WAS SPECIFICALLY COMMITTING ITSELF TO CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS OF THE RFTP PURCHASE DESCRIPTION. THE BASES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF TECHNICAL UNACCEPTABILITY WERE FULLY SET FORTH IN THE JUNE 29 LETTER AND THEY WILL NOT BE RESTATED HERE.

B-173259, SEP 16, 1971

BID PROTEST - NONRESPONSIVE BID - TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY DENIAL OF PROTEST BY BARRETT INTERCOMMUNICATION PRODUCTS CORP., AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OFFEROR UNDER A REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS ISSUED BY WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF 125 RADIO COMMAND DESTRUCT RECEIVERS. PROTESTANT'S BID WAS REJECTED BY THE SOURCE SELECTION BOARD AS BEING TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE, AND THUS NONRESPONSIVE. THE RECORD HERE REASONABLY SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE REJECTION OF PROTESTANT'S PROPOSAL. (SEE ASPR 2-503.1(E)(3).) WHERE THE EXERCISE OF THE WIDE DISCRETION ALLOWED PROCURING ACTIVITIES HAS NOT BEEN ABUSED, GAO WILL NOT OBJECT.

TO BARRETT INTERCOMMUNICATION PRODUCTS CORPORATION:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTERS OF JUNE 10 AND 25, 1971, PROTESTING AGAINST AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANY OTHER OFFEROR UNDER REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS (RFTP) DAAD07-71-R-0115, ISSUED BY THE WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, WHITE SANDS, NEW MEXICO, ON MARCH 10, 1971.

THE PROTEST CONCERNS THE FIRST STEP OF A TWO-STEP FORMALLY ADVERTISED PROCUREMENT OF 125 RADIO COMMAND DESTRUCT RECEIVERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH PURCHASE DESCRIPTION MF-109. THE THIRTEEN PROPOSALS RECEIVED BY APRIL 19, 1971, WERE EVALUATED BY A DULY CONSTITUTED SOURCE SELECTION BOARD. THE BOARD DETERMINED THAT THE PROPOSAL OF BARRETT INTERCOMMUNICATION PRODUCTS CORPORATION, AMONG OTHERS, WAS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND COULD NOT BE MADE ACCEPTABLE BY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR CLARIFICATION WITHOUT BASICALLY CHANGING THE PROPOSAL AS SUBMITTED. THEREAFTER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, DETERMINING THAT THE SEVEN PROPOSALS FOUND TO BE ACCEPTABLE CONSTITUTED A SUFFICIENT NUMBER TO ASSURE ADEQUATE PRICE COMPETITION, DECIDED THAT ANY FURTHER EXPENDITURE OF TIME AND EFFORT IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE ANY OF THE UNACCEPTABLE PROPOSALS ACCEPTABLE WOULD NOT BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, HE PROCEEDED TO STEP TWO OF THE PROCUREMENT BY ISSUING AN INVITATION FOR BIDS DATED JUNE 1, 1971. BARRETT REQUESTED BY LETTER DATED JUNE 10, 1971, TO THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY, THAT THE DETERMINATION OF UNACCEPTABILITY BE RECONSIDERED. UPON RECONSIDERATION, THE BOARD AGAIN DETERMINED THE PROPOSAL TO BE UNACCEPTABLE AND NOT REASONABLY SUSCEPTIBLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE. BARRETT WAS ADVISED ACCORDINGLY BY LETTER OF JUNE 29, 1971.

BARRETT'S PROPOSAL WAS DETERMINED TO BE UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE IT DID NOT INSURE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE PROPOSER WAS SPECIFICALLY COMMITTING ITSELF TO CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS OF THE RFTP PURCHASE DESCRIPTION. THE RFTP REQUIRED ALL PROPOSALS TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION AND MADE COMPLIANCE WITH THE SEVERAL REQUIREMENTS THEREIN MANDATORY UPON PROPOSERS.

THE BASES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF TECHNICAL UNACCEPTABILITY WERE FULLY SET FORTH IN THE JUNE 29 LETTER AND THEY WILL NOT BE RESTATED HERE.

WHILE YOU MAINTAIN THAT THE BARRETT PROPOSAL WAS ENTIRELY RESPONSIVE TO THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS OF THE PURCHASE DESCRIPTION, THE RECORD BEFORE US REASONABLY SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE REJECTION OF YOUR FIRST-STEP PROPOSAL. SEE ASPR 2-503.1(E)(3) WHICH PROVIDES: " *** ANY PROPOSAL WHICH MODIFIES, OR FAILS TO CONFORM TO THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS OR SPECIFICATIONS OF, THE REQUEST FOR TECHNICAL PROPOSALS SHALL BE CONSIDERED NONRESPONSIVE AND CATEGORIZED AS UNACCEPTABLE. *** "

IT IS AXIOMATIC THAT THE PROCUREMENT ACTIVITY HAS WIDE DISCRETION IN DETERMINING WHETHER A TECHNICAL PROPOSAL CONFORMS TO ITS REQUIREMENTS AS SET OUT IN A PURCHASE DESCRIPTION AND, AS HERE, WHERE THE EXERCISE OF THAT DISCRETION HAS NOT BEEN ABUSED, WE HAVE NO BASIS TO OBJECT. FURTHER, IN B -170750(1), FEBRUARY 22, 1971, THERE IS CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING RELEVANT STATEMENT:

"TO ADEQUATELY JUDGE THE VALIDITY OF THE EVALUATION OF YOUR PROPOSAL WOULD REQUIRE A DEGREE OF TECHNICAL COMPETENCE AND KNOWLEDGE WHICH OUR OFFICE DOES NOT POSSESS. WE, THEREFORE, ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO STATE CATEGORICALLY THAT THE DETERMINATION OF THE EVALUATION BOARD, WITH RESPECT TO CALTECH'S PROPOSAL, WAS SO ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS AS TO BE CLEARLY ERRONEOUS. CONSEQUENTLY, WE MAY NOT OBJECT TO THE FINDINGS OF THE EVALUATION BOARD."

IN VIEW OF THE APPLICABILITY OF THESE PRINCIPLES TO THE PROTEST AND SINCE OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE BARRETT PROPOSAL WAS EVALUATED IN DETAIL IN A MANNER CONSISTENT WITH THE EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS FROM OTHER OFFERORS, NO OBJECTION WILL BE TAKEN TO THE DETERMINATION MADE UNDER THE IMMEDIATE PROCUREMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE PROTEST IS DENIED.