B-175331, MAY 10, 1972

B-175331: May 10, 1972

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WAS ARBITRARY. QUESTIONS OF TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY ARE PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THE PROCURING AGENCY. THE RATIONALE FOR INCLUDING THE SUBJECT ITEM IN THE RFP WAS TO ACQUIRE AN EVALUATION PROGRAM THAT WOULD EXCEED CURRENT CAPABILITIES. IT IS THE OPINION OF THE COMP. THAT THE INVITATION WAS SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR. THAT GOVMARK'S PROPOSAL WAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED. THAT ANY DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED AS A RESULT OF THE DELETION OF THE ITEM FROM THE SOLICITATION WERE DUE TO THE COMPANY'S INACCURATE ASSUMPTIONS CONCERNING THIS PROCUREMENT. INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED FEBRUARY 28 AND APRIL 11. OF THE STATEMENT OF WORK) WILL BE CONSIDERED AS A SEPARATE PROGRAM PHASE. THE WEAVING AND PHYSICAL TESTING PHASE WILL BE COMPLETED WITH THE RESULTING FABRIC DELIVERED TO THE AIR FORCE FOR EVALUATION.

B-175331, MAY 10, 1972

BID PROTEST - DETERMINATION OF TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY - ALLEGED IMPROPER BID REJECTION DECISION DENYING THE PROTEST OF THE GOVMARK ORGANIZATION, INC., AGAINST REJECTION OF ITS ITEM BID, SUBMITTED UNDER AN RFP ISSUED AT WRIGHT- PATTERSON AFB, OHIO. PROTESTANT ALLEGES THAT REJECTION OF ITS PROPOSAL AND THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE AIR FORCE MATERIAL LABORATORY THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S EXISTING CAPABILITY EXCEEDED ANY OF THE SUBMITTED PROPOSALS, WAS ARBITRARY, CAPRICIOUS, AND MADE TO FAVOR THE CURRENT GROUP OF CONTRACTORS. QUESTIONS OF TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY ARE PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THE PROCURING AGENCY. B-156491, MAY 26, 1965. IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE RATIONALE FOR INCLUDING THE SUBJECT ITEM IN THE RFP WAS TO ACQUIRE AN EVALUATION PROGRAM THAT WOULD EXCEED CURRENT CAPABILITIES. IT IS THE OPINION OF THE COMP. GEN. THAT THE INVITATION WAS SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR, THAT GOVMARK'S PROPOSAL WAS CAREFULLY CONSIDERED, AND THAT ANY DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED AS A RESULT OF THE DELETION OF THE ITEM FROM THE SOLICITATION WERE DUE TO THE COMPANY'S INACCURATE ASSUMPTIONS CONCERNING THIS PROCUREMENT. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.

TO THE GOVMARK ORGANIZATION, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED FEBRUARY 28 AND APRIL 11, 1972, PROTESTING AGAINST THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL UNDER ITEM 0002 OF REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) F33657-72-R-0443, ISSUED AT WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO.

THE SOLICITATION SET FORTH THREE ITEMS CONCERNING THE PROCUREMENT OF PROTOTYPE PARACHUTE CANOPY FABRICS. ITEM 0001 REQUIRED A CONTRACTOR TO WEAVE CLOTH FROM TWO TYPES OF GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED YARN AND THEN CONDUCT A SERIES OF TESTS TO DETERMINE THE PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FINISHED PRODUCT. ITEM 0002 COVERED THE TESTING OF THE CLOTH FOR FIRE RESISTANCE AND OTHER THERMAL CHARACTERISTICS UNDER SIMULATED CONDITIONS OF A PARACHUTE PASSING THROUGH A FIREBALL. THE THIRD ITEM RELATED TO THE DATA AND REPORTS TO BE FURNISHED.

IN ADDITION, SECTION C, PARAGRAPH 38.5 OF THE RFP, CONCERNING THE EVALUATION OF THE PROPOSALS, STATED THE FOLLOWING:

"5. THE THERMAL EVALUATION PHASE (ITEM 2 AND PARA. II.B. OF THE STATEMENT OF WORK) WILL BE CONSIDERED AS A SEPARATE PROGRAM PHASE. IN THE EVENT THAT NO CONTRACTOR PROPOSES AN ACCEPTABLE THERMAL EVALUATION TECHNIQUE FOR THE SIMULATION OF A FIREBALL EXPOSURE, THE WEAVING AND PHYSICAL TESTING PHASE WILL BE COMPLETED WITH THE RESULTING FABRIC DELIVERED TO THE AIR FORCE FOR EVALUATION. THEREFORE, IF A CONTRACTOR WISHES TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL COVERING ONLY THE WEAVING AND PHYSICAL TESTING PHASE HE WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE COMPETITION IF THE AFOREMENTIONED CONDITION ARISES."

PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED FROM SEVERAL FIRMS AND EACH HAD INCLUDED A PROGRAM AND PRICE FOR ALL OF THE ITEMS UNDER THE SOLICITATION. HOWEVER, IT WAS THE OPINION OF THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION PERSONNEL AT THE AIR FORCE MATERIAL LABORATORY (AFML) THAT NONE OF THE THERMAL EVALUATION PROGRAMS CONTAINED IN THE THREE PROPOSALS WERE TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE OR SUFFICIENTLY COMPLETE TO MERIT PROCUREMENT. THEREFORE, THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION REPORT CONTAINED THE RECOMMENDATION THAT ITEM 0002 BE DELETED FROM THE SOLICITATION. THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION REPORT ALSO INCLUDED THE VIEW THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S EXISTING CAPABILITY TO PERFORM THE EVALUATION CONTEMPLATED UNDER ITEM 0002, FROM THE STANDPOINT OF EQUIPMENT, QUALIFIED PERSONNEL, AND DEVELOPMENT OF TEST CRITERIA EXCEEDED THE PROGRAMS PRESENTED IN THE THREE PROPOSALS.

BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 22, 1972, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ADVISED EACH OF THE THREE FIRMS OF THE DELETION OF ITEM 0002, AND OF OTHER REVISIONS CONCERNING THE RFP, AND REQUESTED EACH OFFEROR TO SUBMIT ITS "BEST AND FINAL OFFER" BASED ON THE AMENDED SOLICITATION BY MARCH 1, 1972. THE LETTER TO YOUR FIRM AMENDING THE SOLICITATION CONTAINED A LIST OF THE INFORMATION LACKING FROM YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL CONCERNING ITEM 0001, AND WHICH WAS BELIEVED NECESSARY TO UPGRADE YOUR PROPOSAL WITH REGARD TO THIS ITEM. HOWEVER, RATHER THAN SUBMITTING AN AMENDED PROPOSAL ON ITEM 0001, YOU FILED THE SUBJECT PROTEST WITH THIS OFFICE.

THE PRIMARY CONTENTION CONTAINED IN YOUR PROTEST IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S DETERMINATION THAT YOUR PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0002 WAS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE WAS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS. YOU ALSO ALLEGE THAT YOUR PROPOSAL UNDER ITEM 0002 WAS THE OPTIMUM THAT COULD BE EXPECTED AT THE PREAWARD STAGE, AND THEREFORE YOU OBJECT TO THE FACT THAT NO OPPORTUNITY WAS EXTENDED TO YOU TO DISCUSS AND NEGOTIATE ANY "MINUTE IMPERFECTION" IN YOUR TECHNICAL PROPOSAL.

FURTHERMORE, IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE DETERMINATION TO REJECT YOUR OFFER WAS NOT BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL GROUNDS, YOU IMPLY THAT THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY WENT TO GREAT LENGTHS TO FIND SOME REASON TO DISCARD YOUR TECHNICAL EFFORT FOR ITEM 0002 IN ORDER TO "FAVOR THEIR CURRENT GROUP OF CONTRACTORS". IT IS YOUR POSITION THAT THESE FAVORED CONTRACTORS WERE ENCOURAGED IN THE RFP TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS ONLY PURSUANT TO ITEM 0001, WHICH COULD BE CONSIDERED ONLY IF NO ACCEPTABLE PROPOSALS WERE RECEIVED FOR ITEM 0002. IN THIS REGARD YOU NOTE THAT ITEM 0001 WAS SIMILAR IN SCOPE TO PAST CONTRACTS WHILE ITEM 0002 WAS NEW IN SCOPE, AND THAT IT IS YOUR BELIEF THAT THE TECHNICAL EVALUATIONS PERFORMED BY THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY LEAN HEAVILY TOWARDS PRIOR CONTRACT EXPERIENCE AND CONSEQUENTLY THESE EVALUATIONS TEND TO CONSISTENTLY ARRIVE AT ANSWERS WHICH DISCRIMINATE AGAINST FIRMS THAT HAVE NOT RECEIVED PAST CONTRACTS FROM THE AGENCY.

IN A SIMILAR CASE BEFORE OUR OFFICE WHERE A PROTESTANT WAS DISPUTING THE CONCLUSION OF AN AGENCY'S TECHNICAL EVALUATION PERSONNEL THAT ITS PROPOSAL WAS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND WHERE NO OPPORTUNITY WAS AFFORDED TO DISCUSS THE TECHNICAL DIFFERENCES, WE STATED THE FOLLOWING:

"THE TECHNICAL QUALITY OF A PROPOSAL, AND DECISIONS AS TO WHETHER AN UNACCEPTABLE PROPOSAL IS REASONABLY SUSCEPTIBLE OF BEING MADE ACCEPTABLE BY DEFINITION AND CLARIFICATION OR CORRECTION OF MINOR DEFICIENCIES, ARE GENERALLY MATTERS REQUIRING THE JUDGMENT OF SCIENTIFIC OR ENGINEERING PERSONNEL KNOWLEDGEABLE IN THE PARTICULAR AREA INVOLVED. SINCE DETERMINATIONS AS TO THE NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY CONCERNED, THE JUDGMENT OF SUCH AGENCY'S SPECIALISTS AND TECHNICIANS AS TO THE TECHNICAL ADEQUACY OF PROPOSALS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE AGENCY'S STATEMENT OF ITS NEEDS MUST ORDINARILY BE ACCEPTED BY THIS OFFICE UNLESS IT IS CLEARLY SHOWN THAT THE AGENCY ACTION WAS ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS OR MADE IN BAD FAITH. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 35." B-161676, AUGUST 22, 1967.

IN RESPONSE TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE REJECTION OF YOUR PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0002 AS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE WAS NOT BASED ON SUBSTANTIAL GROUNDS, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT EACH PROPOSAL WAS EVALUATED FOR TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY USING THE CRITERIA SET FORTH IN SECTION C OF THE SOLICITATION. SECTION C STATES THAT THE EVALUATION OF PROPOSALS WILL BE BASED ON THE SCIENTIFIC/ENGINEERING APPROACH OFFERED, THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE OFFEROR BASED ON AIR FORCE EXPERIENCE, AS WELL AS THE OFFEROR'S DATA. HOWEVER, THE SPECIFIC REASONS FOR THE UNACCEPTABILITY OF THE THERMAL EVALUATION PROGRAM OF YOUR FIRM WAS REPORTED AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN CONSIDERING THE CRITICAL PARAMETERS INVOLVED IN EVALUATING THE THERMAL RESISTANCE OF CANDIDATE CANOPY MATERIALS GOVMARK CENTERED ITS APPROACH AROUND PARACHUTE DIMENSIONS, GLIDE RATES, ... ETC. IN PINPOINTING THE THERMAL RESPONSE OF MATERIALS THESE PARAMETERS ARE OF MINOR IMPORTANCE AS OPPOSED TO CONTROLLED HEATING RATES, FLAME TEMPERATURES, UNIFORM FLUX FIELDS, DATA ACQUISITION AND DATA TRANSLATION. THE TEST CHAMBER PROPOSED BY GOVMARK IN NO WAY PROVIDES FOR ATTAINMENT OF MEANINGFUL DATA SUITABLE FOR COMPARING THERMAL RESPONSES OF MATERIALS. BY MERELY REPEATING STATEMENTS, PROVIDING THE THERMAL CHARACTERISTICS ON A JP-4 FUEL FIRE, EXTRACTING THE INFORMATION VERBATUM FROM THE STATEMENT OF WORK WITHOUT CONTRIBUTING ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, GOVMARK HAS EXHIBITED A TOTAL LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROBLEM AT HAND.

"ONE PARTICULAR EXAMPLE OF GOVMARK'S LACK OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE AREA OF THE THERMAL ANALYSIS OF MATERIALS IS GOVMARK'S SUGGESTION TO USE A DISH OF FUEL AS THE HEATING SOURCE FOR EXPOSURE OF THE MATERIALS. IF GOVMARK HAD TAKEN THE TIME TO EVALUATE THIS APPROACH BY MERELY IGNITING ONE DISH OF FUEL IN THE MANNER PROPOSED, THEY WOULD HAVE REALIZED THE INADEQUACY OF THIS APPROACH. THE FIRST REQUIREMENT IN ATTAINING COMPARATIVE DATA ON THE THERMAL RESPONSES OF MATERIALS IS TO PROVIDE A UNIFORM EXPOSURE TO EACH MATERIAL EVALUATED OR AT THE MINIMUM LEVEL AT LEAST PROPOSE A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO NORMALIZING THE DATA ATTAINED. A DISH OF FUEL PROVIDES A HIGHLY NONUNIFORM FIRE EXPOSURE AND NORMALIZATION OF DATA ATTAINED WAS NOT DISCUSSED IN GOVMARK'S PROPOSAL NOR WAS ANY REASONABLE SUBSTITUTION FOR THESE INADEQUACIES PROPOSED. GOVMARK'S APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM WOULD PROVIDE, EVEN WITH THE SPRAY NOZZLE APPROACH, NOTHING MORE THAN A CHAMBER FULL OF SMOKE AND VERY LITTLE DATA.

"GOVMARK PROPOSES TO INFLATE THE FABRIC SAMPLE BY IMPINGING AIR FROM A NOZZLE ON THE UNDERNEATH SIDE. THIS AIR WILL BOTH INSULATE AND COOL THE FABRIC, NEGATING THE EFFECT OF THE HEAT APPLIED BY THE TECHNIQUE THEY PROPOSED. THE SEALING TECHNIQUES PROPOSED BY THE BIDDER ARE GROSSLY INACCURATE. ONE EXAMPLE IS THE USE OF AN AIRCRAFT FIRE DIAMETER AS 3/4 THAT OF THE PARACHUTE DIAMETER. THE PARACHUTE DIAMETER (FOR A PERSONNEL TYPE) IS 28 FT. WHICH WOULD IMPLY A FIRE DIAMETER OF 21 FT. BASED ON THE FUSELAGE LENGTH AND WING SPAN OF AF JET AIRCRAFT THIS WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE A FIRE SIGNIFICANT ENOUGH IN SIZE TO BE DANGEROUS UNLESS THE PARACHUTE DESCENDED DIRECTLY INTO IT AS THE MAN LANDED.

"IN COMPARING THE TECHNICAL KNOW HOW AND PROGRAM PROPOSED BY GOVMARK WITH SAME INFORMATION FROM THE OTHER BIDDERS REGARDING THE THERMAL EVALUATION PROCEDURES, GOVMARK IS RATED THE LEAST ACCEPTABLE BASED ON A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE EXHIBITED AND AN UNSOUND APPROACH."

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0002 WAS FULLY AND CAREFULLY CONSIDERED BY TECHNICAL PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE AND WE FIND NO EVIDENCE THAT THE DETERMINATION TO REJECT YOUR PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0002 AS UNACCEPTABLE WAS INFLUENCED BY THE PAST GOVERNMENT CONTRACT EXPERIENCE OF THE OTHER OFFERORS. INASMUCH AS WE FIND NO ABUSE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OR LACK OF REASONABLE GROUNDS FOR THE DETERMINATION THAT YOUR PROPOSAL WAS TECHNICALLY UNACCEPTABLE, WE FIND NO LEGAL BASIS TO QUESTION THE DETERMINATION OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY TO REJECT ITEM 0002 OF YOUR PROPOSAL.

FURTHER, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT ALTHOUGH THE LANGUAGE IN THE RFP WHICH STATES THAT "IF A CONTRACTOR WISHES TO SUBMIT A PROPOSAL COVERING ONLY THE WEAVING AND PHYSICAL TESTING PHASE HE WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE COMPETITION IF *** NO CONTRACTOR PROPOSES AN ACCEPTABLE THERMAL EVALUATION TECHNIQUE FOR THE SIMULATION OF A FIREBALL EXPOSURE," MAY BE INTERPRETED AS ENCOURAGING THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS FOR ITEM 0001 ONLY, SUCH AN INTERPRETATION DOES NOT NECESSARILY LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE AGENCY GAVE THIS ENCOURAGEMENT FOR AN ILLEGAL OR DEVIOUS REASON. WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF OFFERS RESPONSIVE TO A SINGLE ITEM UNDER A SOLICITATION, IN THE MANNER SET FORTH IN THE INSTANT RFP, IS A PRUDENT MEANS OF INSURING GREATER COMPETITION FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF A SINGLE ARTICLE OR SERVICE, WHERE A TECHNICALLY ACCEPTABLE PROPOSAL MAY NOT BE RECEIVED FOR THE REMAINING ITEM OR ITEMS UNDER THE SAME SOLICITATION, AND IT IS PRACTICABLE TO PROCURE THE SINGLE ITEM SEPARATELY FROM THE OTHER RELATED REQUIREMENTS.

FURTHER YOU CONTEND THAT THE ELIMINATION OF ITEM 0002 CONSEQUENTLY PREJUDICED YOUR FIRM'S ABILITY TO COMPETE UNDER THE AMENDED SOLICITATION, BECAUSE THE DEADLINE OF MARCH 1, 1972, DIDN'T ALLOW YOU SUFFICIENT TIME TO OUTLINE AN ENTIRE PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0001, IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE PREPARATION OF YOUR PROPOSAL PURSUANT TO THE ORIGINAL RFP WAS MOSTLY CONCERNED WITH ITEM 0002. YOU STATE THAT THE FORMULATION OF YOUR PROPOSAL UNDER THE ORIGINAL SOLICITATION WAS BASED ON THE BELIEF THAT YOU WOULD HAVE AN EXCELLENT CHANCE OF GETTING THE CONTRACT BY HAVING THE STRONGEST OVERALL OFFER DUE TO THE STRENGTH OF YOUR PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0002. THE FOUNDATION FOR THIS BELIEF WERE YOUR VIEWS THAT AN OFFEROR WOULD HAVE TO PRESENT A PROPOSAL UNDER BOTH ITEMS 0001 AND 0002 TO BE INCLUDED IN THE NEGOTIATION, BECAUSE WITHOUT A SATISFACTORY APPROACH TO ITEM 0002 THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO FULLY EVALUATE THE FABRICS WOVEN UNDER ITEM 0001, AND THAT ITEM 0001 WAS AT THE MOST A FAIRLY SIMPLE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TASK, AND THEREFORE THE GOVERNMENT WAS MOSTLY INTERESTED IN THE PROPOSALS UNDER ITEM 0002.

HOWEVER, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT ANY DIFFICULTIES YOU MAY HAVE FACED IN PRESENTING A BEST AND FINAL OFFER ON ITEM 0001 BY MARCH 1, 1972, WAS DUE TO YOUR INACCURATE ASSUMPTIONS AND BELIEFS CONCERNING THIS PROCUREMENT. WE FEEL THAT THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE SOLICITATION CLEARLY INFORMED ALL OFFERORS OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE AIR FORCE MIGHT AWARD A CONTRACT ONLY FOR THE WEAVING AND PHYSICAL TESTING PHASE OF THE RFP. WE ARE UNABLE TO FIND ANY INDICATION IN THE RFP THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS GOING TO MAKE AN AWARD BASED ESSENTIALLY ON THE QUALITY OF THE PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0002 BECAUSE ITEM 0001 WAS SUCH A "SIMPLE TASK." FURTHER, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REPORTS THAT THE ELIMINATION OF ITEM 0002 DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE FLAMMABILITY AND THERMAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PARACHUTE FABRICS WILL NOT BE EVALUATED. THESE CHARACTERISTICS WILL BE EVALUATED BY AFML, WHICH HAS THE PROPER EQUIPMENT TO PROVIDE THE CORRECT THERMAL ENVIRONMENT AND TO MONITOR THE REQUIRED SIMULATED CONDITIONS. THE RATIONALE FOR INCLUDING ITEM 0002 IN THE RFP WAS TO ACQUIRE AN EVALUATION PROGRAM THAT WOULD EXCEED CURRENT CAPABILITIES. THE RECORD ALSO INDICATES THAT OF THE THREE PROPOSALS EVALUATED, THE PROGRAM WHICH YOU PROPOSED REGARDING THE THERMAL EVALUATION PROCEDURES WAS "RATED THE LEAST ACCEPTABLE BASED ON A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE EXHIBITED AND AN UNSOUND APPROACH." IN ADDITION, SINCE ALL OF THE FIRMS RESPONDING TO THE SOLICITATION SUBMITTED PROPOSALS UNDER ITEM 0002 WHICH WERE RATED HIGHER THAN YOURS, THE ELIMINATION OF THIS ITEM FROM THE RFP SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE DISCRIMINATORY AS TO YOU THAN AS TO THE REMAINING OFFERORS. YOU ALSO ACCUSE THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OF "RUBBER STAMPING" THE RESULTS OF THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION WITHOUT ANY CONCERN AS TO WHETHER THE EVALUATION WAS CONDUCTED FAIRLY.

THE QUESTION OF WHETHER A PROPOSAL MEETS THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS OF A SOLICITATION IS A MATTER PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY AGENCY TECHNICAL PERSONNEL. B-156491, MAY 26, 1965. THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION IS A TOOL TO BE USED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER IN MAKING HIS ULTIMATE DECISION CONCERNING THE ACCEPTABILITY OF PROPOSALS, UNLESS HE DETERMINES THAT THE POSITION OF SUCH TECHNICAL PERSONNEL IS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS. IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE RECORD EVIDENCES THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER REVIEWED THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION AND FOUND NO REASON TO QUESTION ITS VALIDITY, SINCE THE JUDGMENTAL DECISIONS CONTAINED THEREIN WERE BASED ON FACT AND THERE WAS NO INDICATION OF BAD FAITH. FURTHER, AFTER DECIDING TO ALTER THE RFP, THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, IN AN EFFORT TO UPGRADE YOUR PROPOSAL FOR ITEM 0001, REQUESTED ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM HIS TECHNICAL ADVISORS DETAILING WHAT INFORMATION WOULD BE NECESSARY TO BRING YOUR PROPOSAL UP TO AN ACCEPTABLE LEVEL. ALL OF THE COMMENTS IN RESPONSE TO THIS REQUEST WERE SET OUT IN THE LETTER TO YOU DATED FEBRUARY 22, 1972, AMENDING THE RFP. THUS, WE CANNOT AGREE WITH YOUR ALLEGATION THAT THE CONTRACTING OFFICER ACTED WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE INTERESTS OF THE OFFERORS AND MERELY RUBBER STAMPED THE RESULTS OF THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION.

PURSUANT TO OUR REVIEW OF THE RECORD AS SET FORTH ABOVE, WE FIND NO EVIDENCE OF IMPROPRIETY ON THE PART OF THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY IN REJECTING YOUR PROPOSAL UNDER ITEM 0002 OF THE RFP.

THEREFORE, YOUR PROTEST MUST BE DENIED.