Protest of Naval Supply Systems Command Noncompetitive Award

B-202879: Oct 20, 1981

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A firm protested the Naval Supply Systems Command's noncompetitive award of delivery orders for various replacement pumps, pump parts, and spare parts under a basic ordering agreement (BOA). The protester contended that the BOA was used to restrict competition and asked that it be canceled. The Navy and the awardee entered into the BOA for ordering certain Naval fleet replacement equipment. The Navy stated that, before placing an order under the BOA, it reviewed whether the Government had adequate technical data available to conduct a competitive procurement which would assure receipt of parts capable of performing the same function as the original equipment. Where the Navy concludes that adequate technical data were not available, and a proposed order under the BOA was estimated to exceed $10,000, the Navy synopsizes the requirement in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD). The Navy reported that, in response to several of these CBD announcements, the protester had informed the Navy of its belief that it could supply the items. The Navy stated that each time the protester requested permission to submit an offer for an item published in the CBD as sole-source to the awardee, the proposed placement of the BOA order was withheld and the protester was granted the opportunity to submit a proposal. In all cases, the Navy determined that the data upon which the protester based its proposal were inadequate, and the protester proposals therefore were rejected and orders were placed with the awardee under the BOA. GAO found that the Navy's course of conduct in issuing orders under the BOA correctly had been to treat each order as an individual sole-source procurement which requires its own justification each time by an individual sole-source determination. In addition, the protester questioned the Navy's sole-source determinations on all of the BOA for which it submitted proposals which ultimately were rejected. The protester argued that the Navy's basis in each instance for a sole-source award was unfounded. The burden is on the firm objecting to the sole-source procurement to show that the agency's technical findings and conclusions are arbitrary. Mere disagreement with the agency's grounds for a sole-source procurement is not sufficient for GAO to find the agency's conclusions unreasonable. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.