B-197015, JUL 22, 1980

B-197015: Jul 22, 1980

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PROTESTER IS INTERESTED PARTY TO COMPLAIN THAT THE AGENCY IMPROPERLY EXPANDED SCOPE OF EXISTING CONTRACT BY ACQUIRING ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT. BECAUSE PROTESTER IS POTENTIAL SOURCE OF EQUIPMENT SIMILAR TO PORTION OF THAT ACQUIRED. 2. CONTRACTING ACTIVITY WAS JUSTIFIED IN ACQUIRING PERIPHERAL ADP EQUIPMENT FROM CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT MANUFACTURER BECAUSE LIMITED TIME AVAILABLE FOR PROCUREMENT COUPLED WITH NEED TO ASSURE LEASED EQUIPMENT WAS COMPATIBLE PRECLUDED COMPETITION. 3. ARGUMENT THAT CONTRACT TO LEASE PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT COULD HAVE BEEN DEFERRED. IS REJECTED. PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT WAS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY TO SUPPORT EXISTING UNITS SO THAT BACK-UP SYSTEMS WOULD REMAIN OPERATIONALLY COMPATIBLE AS PRIMARY SYSTEMS WERE UPGRADED.

B-197015, JUL 22, 1980

DIGEST: 1. PROTESTER IS INTERESTED PARTY TO COMPLAIN THAT THE AGENCY IMPROPERLY EXPANDED SCOPE OF EXISTING CONTRACT BY ACQUIRING ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT, BECAUSE PROTESTER IS POTENTIAL SOURCE OF EQUIPMENT SIMILAR TO PORTION OF THAT ACQUIRED. 2. CONTRACTING ACTIVITY WAS JUSTIFIED IN ACQUIRING PERIPHERAL ADP EQUIPMENT FROM CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT MANUFACTURER BECAUSE LIMITED TIME AVAILABLE FOR PROCUREMENT COUPLED WITH NEED TO ASSURE LEASED EQUIPMENT WAS COMPATIBLE PRECLUDED COMPETITION. 3. ARGUMENT THAT CONTRACT TO LEASE PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT COULD HAVE BEEN DEFERRED, BECAUSE EQUIPMENT SUPPORTED WOULD NOT BE INSTALLED IMMEDIATELY, IS REJECTED. PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT WAS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY TO SUPPORT EXISTING UNITS SO THAT BACK-UP SYSTEMS WOULD REMAIN OPERATIONALLY COMPATIBLE AS PRIMARY SYSTEMS WERE UPGRADED.

INTERSCIENCE SYSTEMS, INC.:

INTERSCIENCE SYSTEMS, INC. PROTESTS A MODIFICATION BY THE DEFENSE MAPPING AGENCY (DMA) OF AN EXISTING CONTRACT (DMA800-77-D-0022) WITH SPERRY UNIVAC CORPORATION. THE MODIFICATION PROVIDES FOR ENHANCEMENT OF DMA'S AUTOMATIC DATA PROCESSING (ADP) CAPABILITY BY UPGRADING EXISTING EQUIPMENT TO CONSIST OF ONE UNIVAC 1100/82 AND THREE UNIVAC 1100/81 COMPUTER SYSTEMS, INCLUDING PERIPHERAL (TAPE AND DISK MEMORY) EQUIPMENT. ESSENTIALLY, INTERSCIENCE COMPLAINS THAT DMA'S ACTION AMOUNTED TO THE PROCUREMENT OF THE UPGRADE FROM SPERRY UNIVAC ON A SOLE SOURCE BASIS AND THAT OTHERS INCLUDING INTERSCIENCE COULD HAVE FURNISHED AT LEAST A PORTION OF THE EQUIPMENT NEEDED. AMPERIF CORPORATION HAS INTERVENED AS A SECOND POTENTIALLY INTERESTED PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER.

DMA INITIALLY INTENDED TO COMPETE ITS REQUIREMENT AND ANNOUNCED ITS INTENTION IN THE COMMERCE BUSINESS DAILY. IT ALTERED ITS POSITION AFTER REVIEWING THE URGENCY OF ITS NEED, AND INSTEAD ELECTED TO ISSUE A MODIFICATION TO THE EXISTING UNIVAC CONTRACT AFTER IT CONCLUDED THAT IT WAS JUSTIFIED IN AWARDING THE WORK TO UNIVAC WITHOUT COMPETITION.

AS A PRELIMINARY MATTER DMA ARGUES THAT NEITHER INTERSCIENCE NOR AMPERIF SHOULD BE CONSIDERED INTERESTED PARTIES UNDER SEC. 20.1(A) OF OUR BID PROTEST PROCEDURES. 4 C.F.R. SEC. 20.1(A) (1980). NOTING THAT THE EQUIPMENT AND SOFTWARE NEEDED WAS ACQUIRED AS A PACKAGE, DMA CONTENDS THAT NEITHER FIRM COULD HAVE PROVIDED ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT NEEDED AND COULD NOT, THEREFORE, HAVE COMPETED HAD A COMPETITIVE PROCUREMENT BEEN CONDUCTED.

THE "INTERESTED PARTY" RULE IS INTENDED TO INSURE A PARTY'S DILIGENT PARTICIPATION IN THE PROTEST PROCESS SO AS TO SHARPEN THE ISSUES AND PROVIDE A COMPLETE RECORD ON WHICH THE CHALLENGED PROCUREMENT ACTION CAN BE REVIEWED. WASSKA TECHNICAL SYSTEMS AND RESEARCH COMPANY, B-189573, AUGUST 10, 1979, 79-2 CPD 110. REGARDLESS OF THE STRENGTH OF A PROTESTER'S CASE ON THE MERITS, THE EXTENT OF ITS INTEREST DEPENDS UPON ITS STATUS IN RELATION TO THE PROCUREMENT ACTION QUESTIONED, THE NATURE OF THE ISSUES RAISED, AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE PROTESTER'S DIRECT OR ECONOMIC INTERESTS. OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY, B-195873, DECEMBER 19, 1979, 79-2 CPD 419. DISAPPOINTED OFFERORS OR POTENTIAL OFFERORS WHOSE OPPORTUNITY TO COMPETE HAS BEEN CURTAILED ARE SUFFICIENTLY INTERESTED TO PROTEST. CF. DIE MESH CORPORATION, 58 COMP. GEN. 111 (1978), 78-2 CPD 374. MOREOVER, DMA'S REFUSAL TO BREAK OUT PORTIONS OF THE EQUIPMENT REQUIRED IS AN ISSUE WHICH CAN BE REVIEWED THROUGH THE PROTEST PROCESS. JOSEPH ALBANESE & ASSOCIATES, B-198677, MARCH 6, 1979, 79-1 CPD 152. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE BELIEVE INTERSCIENCE IS SUFFICIENTLY INTERESTED TO PROTEST, WHILE AMPERIF'S STATUS NEED NOT BE DECIDED, BECAUSE IT RAISES NO SEPARATE ISSUES OF ITS OWN.

TURNING TO THE MERITS OF INTERSCIENCE'S PROTEST WE POINT OUT THAT NEGOTIATION OF A CONTRACT ON A SOLE SOURCE BASIS HAS BEEN PERMITTED WHERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES COMBINE TO PRECLUDE MEANINGFUL COMPETITION. SOLE SOURCE PROCUREMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED IN INSTANCES (AMONG OTHERS) WHEN THERE IS A RATIONAL BASIS TO CONCLUDE THAT ONLY ONE SOURCE CAN MEET THE GOVERNMENT'S NEEDS WITHIN THE TIME AVAILABLE. SEE PRECISION DYNAMICS CORPORATION, 54 COMP.GEN. 1114 (1975), 75-1 CPD 402. WE BELIEVE A RATIONAL BASIS EXISTED HERE.

DMA WAS NOT ABLE TO SUPPORT ITS CRITICAL MILITARY REQUIREMENTS TO SUPPORT THE CRUISE MISSILE PROGRAM IN AN ACCEPTABLE MANNER WITHOUT INCREASED COMPUTER CAPACITY, AND ONLY A FEW WEEKS WERE AVAILABLE BEFORE DELIVERIES WERE REQUIRED. THE PROTESTERS DO NOT SERIOUSLY CHALLENGE THE DELIVERY DATES; RATHER, THEY QUESTION THE WISDOM OF WAITING UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT TO INITIATE THE PROCUREMENT. WE BELIEVE DMA'S NEED TO RAPIDLY ENHANCE ITS COMPUTER CAPACITY EFFECTIVELY LIMITED ITS ACQUISITION OF ITS IMMEDIATE NEEDS TO A PACKAGE PROCUREMENT FROM ONE KNOWN COMPATIBLE SOURCE. MOREOVER, WE NEED NOT DISCUSS DMA'S EXPLANATION OF ITS DELAY IN INITIATING THIS PROCUREMENT FOR THE FACT REMAINS THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN THAT THE AGENCY ACTED UNREASONABLY WHEN IT CONCLUDED THAT ONLY UNIVAC COULD MEET THE DELIVERY REQUIREMENTS. WE FIND NO REASON TO DISTURB THE UNIVAC AWARD ON THIS BASIS.

INTERSCIENCE ALSO QUESTIONS DMA'S FURTHER DECISION TO INCLUDE ALL PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT IN ONE PROCUREMENT, NOTING THAT TWO OF THE FOUR SYSTEMS WERE NOT TO BE UPGRADED IMMEDIATELY. WE AGREE, HOWEVER, WITH DMA THAT IT WAS JUSTIFIED IN ACQUIRING ALL OF THE EQUIPMENT TOGETHER. THE TWO UNITS TO BE UPGRADED LAST ARE USED TO PROVIDE BACK-UP COMPUTER CAPACITY. DMA POINTS OUT THAT THE UPGRADED EQUIPMENT USES LATER SERIES DISK TAPE DRIVE EQUIPMENT WITH GREATER CAPACITY AND CHARACTERISTICS WHICH DIFFER FROM THOSE OF THE EQUIPMENT BEING REPLACED. TO ASSURE THAT THE COMPUTERS COULD CONTINUE TO BE USED FOR BACK-UP AS SYSTEMS WERE ADDED, DMA HAD TO SIMULTANEOUSLY UPGRADE PERIPHERAL EQUIPMENT FOR ALL FOUR AFFECTED UNITS.

THE PROTEST IS DENIED.