SMS Data Products Group, Inc.

B-414548,B-414548.2,B-414548.3: Jul 12, 2017

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SMS Data Products Group, Inc., a small business concern of McLean, Virginia, protests the issuance of a delivery order to Telos Corporation, a small business concern of Ashburn, Virginia, under request for proposals (RFP) No. FA8726-17-F-0005, issued by the Department of the Air Force, for its base information transport infrastructure (BITI) base area network enterprise wireless recapitalization project. The protester contends that the agency unreasonably found its proposal to be technically unacceptable, failed to conduct meaningful discussions, and performed a disparate evaluation of the proposals.

We deny the protest.

DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted version has been approved for public release.

Decision

Matter of:  SMS Data Products Group, Inc.

File:  B-414548; B-414548.2; B-414548.3

Date:  July 12, 2017

Thomas L. McGovern III, Esq., Michael D. McGill, Esq., Brendan M. Lill, Esq., and William T. Kirkwood, Esq., Hogan Lovells US LLP, for the protester.
Nathanael D. Hartland, Esq., Katherine B. Burrows, Esq., and Sarah C. Miller, Esq., Miles & Stockbridge PC, for Telos Corporation, the intervenor.
Alexis J. Bernstein, Esq., and Captain Justin D. Haselden, Department of the Air Force, for the agency.
Charmaine A. Stevenson, Esq., and Laura Eyester, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the decision.

DIGEST

1.  Protest challenging agency's evaluation of proposals is denied where the record shows that the agency's evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.

2.  Protest alleging that agency engaged in inadequate and misleading discussions is denied where agency advised protester of inadequacies regarding its proposed solution and agency was not required to afford the protester an opportunity to cure proposal defects first introduced in response to a post-discussion proposal revision.

DECISION

SMS Data Products Group, Inc., a small business concern of McLean, Virginia, protests the issuance of a delivery order to Telos Corporation, a small business concern of Ashburn, Virginia, under request for proposals (RFP) No. FA8726-17-F-0005, issued by the Department of the Air Force, for its base information transport infrastructure (BITI) base area network enterprise wireless recapitalization project.  The protester contends that the agency unreasonably found its proposal to be technically unacceptable, failed to conduct meaningful discussions, and performed a disparate evaluation of the proposals.

We deny the protest.

BACKGROUND

The RFP was issued on November 7, 2016, to all Air Force network-centric solutions-2 (NETCENTS-2) network operations and infrastructure solutions small business indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract holders, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 16.505.  Agency Report (AR), Tab 11, Fair Opportunity Decision Document, at 2.  The purpose of this effort is to replace existing hardware and update wireless controller software across 172 active duty, reserve, and Air National Guard locations.  Contracting Officer's Statement and Memorandum of Law (COS/MOL) at 4.

The agency's specific requirements were detailed in the statement of work (SOW) and technical requirements document (TRD) provided with the RFP.  AR, Tab 3, RFP, at 193-243 (TRD); RFP, amend. 4 at 5-54 (SOW).  To evaluate the technical acceptability of offers, the RFP required offerors to submit a technical proposal providing a narrative to address the requirements for each of the following 10 technical subfactors:  (1) cover page(s) and technical proposal table of contents; (2) project management; (3) integrated master schedule; (4) technology protection program; (5) Hanscom Collaboration & Innovation Center (HCIC) enterprise solution integration and verification; (6) site survey and integration planning; (7) installation; (8) quality assurance; (9) key personnel; and (10) risk management.  RFP at 7-8. 

As relevant to the protest, regarding subfactor 5, the RFP stated: "The Offeror shall describe their proposed [network access control] NAC solution, how it integrates with the rest of the BITI Wireless architecture, and how they would execute the work activities required for the HCIC phase."  Id. at 8.  The RFP further stated, in pertinent part, that the offeror's proposal would be evaluated as acceptable if it:

  1. Includes a diagram, description and analysis of the recommended solution as it integrates within the current system architecture/design, that clearly identifies all components the Offeror intends to deploy and how those components will logically connect with each other and the current system/sub-systems.
  2. Includes a List of Materials identifying the manufacturer, part number, quantity, item description, [software] version, and any special [hardware] configuration details and containing no components with an announced End-of-Sale date earlier than 1 January 2021 and no components with an announced End-of-Support date earlier than 1 January 2022.
  3. Provides evidence that the proposed NAC solution has attained Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certification as a Network Access Control (NAC) device and is listed on the Unified Capabilities Approved Products List (UC-APL) or will be by contract award.

*  *  *  *  *

RFP, amend. 2 at 57-58.

The RFP specifically advised offerors to include sufficient detail regarding the proposed solution when preparing proposals:

The proposal shall be clear, concise, and shall include sufficient detail for effective evaluation and for substantiating the validity of stated claims.  The proposal should not simply rephrase or restate the Government's requirements, but rather shall provide convincing rationale to address how the Offeror intends to meet these requirements.  Simply rephrasing or restating the RFP requirements will result in an evaluation of the proposal as unacceptable.  Offerors shall assume that the Government has no prior knowledge of their facilities and experience, and will base its evaluation on the information presented in the Offeror's proposal.

RFP at 3.

The RFP advised that award was to be made to the lowest-priced, technically-acceptable offer, specifically stating that "[t]echnical tradeoffs will not be made and no additional credit will be given for exceeding acceptability."  RFP at 12.  Further, an unacceptable rating in one technical subfactor would result in an overall unacceptable rating, and the proposal would be considered unawardable.  Id. at 10-13; see also id. at 17 ("Offerors are required to meet all proposal requirements, such as terms and conditions, and technical requirements, in addition to those identified evaluation factors or subfactors.  Failure to meet a requirement may result in an offer being ineligible for award.").

The RFP further indicated that it was the government's intent to award without exchanges with offerors after receipt of proposals.  See RFP at 13.  However, the RFP reserved the right for the government to issue questions to offerors if it was determined to be in the best interest of the government.  Id.  The RFP advised that the purpose of the questions might be to correct minor errors or to gain an understanding of aspects of a proposal, and provided that the government could ask questions either orally or in writing to some, none, or all offerors.  Id.  The RFP further stated that the government would consider the correction potential of proposals when determining whether to issue questions to offerors.[1]  Id.

The agency received two offers on the December 23 due date from SMS and Telos.  AR, Tab 10, Technical Evaluation, at 1.  Following its initial evaluation, the agency determined that both offers were unacceptable under the integrated master schedule and HCIC enterprise solution integration and verification technical subfactors, and issued questions to both SMS and Telos.  COS/MOL at 13-14; see also AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 1-15; Tab 9, Telos Questions, at 1-6.  Thereafter, the agency evaluated the offerors' responses and again determined that both offers were still unacceptable--Telos remained unacceptable under the integrated master schedule technical subfactor and SMS remained unacceptable under the HCIC enterprise solution integration and verification technical subfactor--and issued a second round of questions to SMS and Telos.  COS/MOL at 14-15.  After again reviewing the offerors' final proposal revisions, the agency determined that the Telos offer was acceptable, but that the SMS offer remained unacceptable under subfactor 5.  Id. at 15-16. 

The agency assessed multiple deficiencies in its final evaluation of the SMS proposal under the HCIC enterprise solution integration and verification technical subfactor.  Specifically, the agency determined that SMS's proposed NAC solution was unacceptable because SMS provided [DELETED] that did not meet the definition of a NAC[2]; proposed to test a different configuration of its solution in the HCIC than the one it proposed to deploy; failed to comply with the TRD 4.1.1.18 requirement that each NAC AAA system appliance be capable of supporting a minimum of 25,000 concurrent users; proposed a solution that did not meet certain TRD section 4 logging requirements and [DELETED] to meet those requirements; and failed to provide a single enterprise-level central management system per TRD 4.2.1.  AR, Tab 10, Technical Evaluation, at 14-17.  The agency also determined SMS was unacceptable under this subfactor because SMS did not identify all materials required for the entire proposed NAC solution.  Id. at 17-18.  Finally, the agency found SMS unacceptable under this subfactor because its solution was not configured in the same manner as the NAC tested in the JITC certification provided in SMS's proposal.  Id. at 19. 

On March 27, the agency issued the delivery order to Telos.[3]  After a debriefing, SMS filed this protest.

DISCUSSION

The protester challenges every deficiency identified by the agency in its evaluation of SMS's proposal, argues that the agency's discussions with SMS were inadequate and misleading, and alleges that the agency disparately evaluated the offerors' proposals.  Although we do not specifically address all of the protester's arguments, we have fully considered all of them and find that they provide no basis on which to sustain the protest.

Technical Evaluation

SMS argues that the agency had no reasonable basis for any of the deficiencies it identified.  Protest at 7-15.  The Air Force states that the protester provided an inadequate proposal and therefore, the agency's evaluation that SMS's proposal was unacceptable was reasonable.  COS/MOL at 31. 

It is an offeror's responsibility to submit a well-written proposal, with adequately detailed information, which clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation requirements and allows a meaningful review by the procuring agency.  Engility Corp., B-413120.3 et al., Feb. 14, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 70 at 16.  Agencies are not required to infer information from an inadequately detailed proposal, or to supply information that the protester elected not to provide.  Id.  In addition, the evaluation of an offeror's technical proposal is a matter within the agency's broad discretion and our Office will not substitute our judgment for that of the agency; rather, we will examine the record to determine whether the agency's judgments were reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations.  Aerostar Perma-Fix TRU Servs., LLC, B-411733, B-411733.4, Oct. 8, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 338 at 7.  A protester's disagreement with the agency's judgment does not establish that the evaluation was unreasonable.  Jacobs Tech., Inc., B-411784, B-411784.2, Oct. 21, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 342 at 6.

SMS challenges the assessment of a deficiency because its proposed solution does not comply with the TRD 4.1.1.18 requirement that each NAC AAA system appliance be capable of supporting a minimum of 25,000 concurrent users.  Protest at 7-9.  The agency explains that the inclusion of the word "concurrent" in the requirement was deliberate, and was the result of lessons learned in prior procurements where a general "25,000 user" requirement resulted in less than optimal performance.  COS/MOLat 19.  The agency argues that because SMS's initial proposal provided so little information about its solution, the agency determined that the proposal failed to demonstrate compliance with the requirement, and issued a question to SMS to address this requirement in its proposal revision.[4]  COS/MOL at 19-20.  In its response, SMS simply stated: "[T]he [DELETED] is capable of supporting over 25,000 concurrent users."  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 4-5.  After reviewing SMS's responses and first proposal revision, the agency concluded:  "The Offeror's response merely reiterates the Government's objectives, yet does not provide evidence that their proposed solution meets the TRD requirement and conflicts with all reviewed OEM Vendor published documentation on supported capability of users/devices."  Id. at 8; AR, Tab 6, SMS Consolidated Evaluation Worksheet, at 6. 

The agency subsequently issued another question to SMS asking that the company demonstrate that its solution could support 25,000 concurrent users.  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 17.  Specifically, the agency stated that SMS had merely reiterated the agency's objective, but did "not provide evidence that their proposed solution meets the TRD requirement[s]."  Id.  SMS again responded that its proposed solution would satisfy the requirement, and included a document from the OEM providing test results of the proposed system to demonstrate compliance with the TRD requirements. 

As pertinent here, the OEM document SMS submitted stated that the OEM vendor "fully supports a deployment with 25,000 concurrent users meeting or exceeding the requirement 4.1.1.18."  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 18.  However, the same document also stated: "Nodes per 24 hours: 25,000."  Id.  The agency interpreted this to mean that the solution only provided coverage for 25,000 nodes (an endpoint authenticated by a single user) over 24 hours.  COS/MOL at 20.  The agency therefore concluded that SMS did not provide sufficient evidence that the proposal met TRD 4.1.1.18 since the "requirement is for 25,000 concurrent users, not restricted to 25,000 users over a 24 hour period of time."  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 19.  Since SMS did not provide evidence that clearly demonstrated compliance with the solicitation requirement, and since the agency is not required to infer information from an inadequately detailed proposal or supply information that the protester elected not to provide, we find no basis to question the agency's conclusions here.

SMS also challenges the assessment of a deficiency because its proposed solution does not comply with the solicitation's requirement for JITC certification and a UC-APL listing.  Protest at 15.  In all three of its proposal submissions, SMS provided a screen shot of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Approved Products List Integrated Tracking System as the "necessary evidence" that its proposed solution had JITC certification and a listing on the UC-APL, and indicated that the APL memo and interoperability certification were included in an appendix.  AR, Tab 4a, SMS Initial Proposal, at 23; Tab 4b, SMS First Proposal Revision, at 24; Tab 4c, SMS Second Proposal Revision, at 31. 

As the agency explains, JITC certifications apply to a particular configuration of all components of a system, including software, as tested in the JITC laboratory.  COS/MOL at 36; see also Supp. COS/MOL at 8.  The agency argues that SMS's proposed technical solution, as configured in its final proposal revision, was never tested, therefore the agency reasonably concluded that SMS did not comply with this requirement.  COS/MOL at 36.  More specifically, the record indicates that the agency did not initially identify this issue as a deficiency because of the lack of detail and incomplete list of materials SMS provided regarding its solution in its initial proposal submission.  See AR, Tab 6, SMS Consolidated Evaluation Worksheet, at 4-5.  The agency issued seven questions to SMS following the evaluation of initial proposals and specifically requested, among other things, a description or analysis of the complete NAC solution.  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 1-13.

The record reflects that although SMS revised its NAC solution after each round of questions, it relied on the same JITC certification and UC-APL listing to demonstrate compliance with this requirement.  In its evaluation of SMS's first proposal revision, the agency for the first time identified the deficiency because SMS had revised its proposal to include the [DELETED], an item which is not included in the JITC certification document cited by SMS as evidence of its compliance with the requirement.  AR, Tab 10, Final Technical Evaluation, at 19.  In its second proposal revision, SMS replaced the [DELETED] device with the [DELETED], however, SMS proposed to use the device in a configuration that had not been tested and certified by the JITC (i.e., [DELETED]).  Id.  Therefore, the agency concluded that SMS's proposed NAC solution did not satisfy the requirement that it be JITC certified and listed on the UC-APL.  We find no basis in the record to conclude that the agency's evaluation was unreasonable.

Meaningful Discussions

SMS argues that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions, and any of the purported deficiencies in its proposal could have been readily corrected with a minor clarification, or at most, minor proposal revisions.  Protest at 15-17.  Specifically, SMS argues that the agency never identified the specific sections of the TRD with which it had not complied, during discussions, and never raised the alleged deficiency concerning its centralized management system's failure to provide an AAA with a "single pane of glass" system visibility.  Id. at 16-17.

The agency responds that the initial SMS proposal contained an incomplete narrative and virtually no analysis of its proposed NAC solution, and failed to include a complete list of materials.  COS/MOL at 37.  The agency argues that because of the lack of detail in SMS's initial proposal, it could not evaluate the solution and identify more specific deficiencies, but to the extent it could, the first round of discussions with SMS reasonably advised the offeror of the agency's concerns.  Id. at 38.  The agency issued seven questions to SMS in the first round of discussions, and held a 30-minute teleconference on January 17, 2017, to clarify the questions.  Id.; AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 1-13; Tab 12, SMS Teleconference Meeting Minutes. 

The agency explains that while that SMS's response to the first round of questions included new equipment items and provided greater detail, its proposal revisions did not cure all of the deficiencies and also generated new and different deficiencies, all of which were raised during the second round of discussions with SMS.  COS/MOL at 38-39.  The agency contends that after receiving SMS's second proposal revision, which again included new equipment items and a revised narrative, prior deficiencies remained and new deficiencies were again identified.  Id. at 40; see also AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 15-25.  The agency drafted a third round of questions, but did not issue them to SMS.  See AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 26-35.  The agency argues that once it determined that the Telos offer was acceptable, it was not obligated to continue to engage in successive rounds of discussions with SMS until it could submit an acceptable proposal.  COS/MOL at 41-42.

When conducting a competition under FAR § 16.505, agencies are required to provide contract holders with a "fair opportunity" to be considered for task or delivery orders. FAR § 16.505(b)(1).  While FAR § 16.505 does not establish specific requirements regarding the conduct of discussions under a task or delivery order competition, exchanges occurring with contract holders of multiple award contracts in a FAR § 16.505 procurement, like other aspects of such a procurement, must be fair and not misleading.  Engility Corp., supra.  In this regard, discussions, when conducted, must be meaningful, that is, they may not be misleading.  Sabre Sys., Inc., B-402040.2,

B-402040.3, June 1, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 128 at 6.  The requirement that discussions be meaningful, however, does not obligate an agency to spoon-feed an offeror or to discuss every area where the proposal could be improved.  Clark/Caddell Joint Venture, B-402055, Jan. 7, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 21 at 7.  Further, where proposal defects are first introduced in response to discussions or in a post-discussion proposal revision, an agency has no duty to reopen discussions or conduct additional rounds of discussions.  DRS C3 Sys., LLC, B-310825, B-310825.2, Feb. 26, 2008, 2008 CPD ¶ 103 at 11-12. 

As noted above, the record reflects that, in its initial proposal, SMS provided very little detail regarding its proposed NAC solution, an incomplete list of materials, and insufficient evidence that its solution was JITC certified as required by the HCIC enterprise solution integration and verification technical subfactor of the RFP.  See AR, Tab 4a, SMS Initial Proposal, at 21-23.  Six of the seven questions issued by the agency in the first round of discussions related to the HCIC enterprise solution integration and verification technical subfactor.  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 2-13.  One of the questions stated:  "The Offeror's proposal includes diagrams and partial description of the technical components, but no description or analysis of a complete enterprise solution that meets all TRD requirements (e.g. RADIUS, logging, centralized licensing capabilities)."[5]  Id. at 2.  Three other questions identified specific sections of the TRD with which the agency determined SMS's proposal did not comply, and another question additionally advised SMS that its list of materials was incomplete.  See id. at 4, 6, 8, and 10. 

SMS's first proposal revision included much more narrative regarding its proposed solution than its initial proposal, and revised its list of materials to include additional hardware items and software licenses.  AR, Tab 4b, SMS First Proposal Revision, at 17-24.  After determining that the revised SMS proposal remained deficient under the HCIC enterprise solution integration and verification technical subfactor, the agency issued an additional five questions to SMS.  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 15-24.  Among other things, the agency again advised SMS that its proposal did not address the individual capabilities required by TRD section 4.1 or identify how the solution would be integrated into the wireless system.  Id. at 20.  For the second time, the agency specifically advised SMS that its proposal had failed to demonstrate compliance with TRD section 4.1.1.18, concerning the 25,000 concurrent users, and its list of materials was again incomplete.  Id. at 17 and 22.  In addition, the agency advised SMS for the first time that the proposed solution was not acceptable because it included hardware that was not included in the JITC certification.  Id. at 15.  In its second proposal revision, SMS again revised its proposed solution, and provided a revised narrative and list of materials that again included new hardware items and software licenses.  AR, Tab 4c, SMS Second Proposal Revision, at 20-30.

Here, the RFP advised offerors to provide adequate detail, stated that simply rephrasing or restating the RFP requirements would result in an evaluation of the proposal as unacceptable, and cautioned that at any point the "correction potential" of the proposal could be considered to determine whether to issue additional questions.  RFP at 3 and 13.  Ultimately, SMS was given three opportunities to submit a technically acceptable proposal.  After evaluating initial proposals, the agency twice engaged in discussions with SMS, in some instances alerting SMS to a deficiency for the second time.  In response to each set of questions, SMS changed its proposed solution.  After evaluating SMS's second proposal revision, the agency determined that SMS had failed to cure the deficiencies in its proposal, and its revised solution had created two new additional deficiencies.  COS/MOL at 40-41.  Specifically, SMS revised its solution and substituted the [DELETED] device with the [DELETED] to address the deficiency of the JITC certification, but doing so required it to propose twice as many [DELETED] devices given the user capacity of the device.  AR, Tab 8, SMS Questions, at 15-16.  Further, because SMS had now proposed a [DELETED] solution, the agency concluded that the proposed solution did not fit the definition of a NAC, and since such a configuration had not been tested, the deficiency regarding SMS's failure to demonstrate JITC certification remained.  Id. at 16.  Additionally, the agency identified a new deficiency because the proposal did not explain how the additional [DELETED] devices and multiple other appliances would be configured and integrated such that system visibility would be provided as a "single pane of glass" in the centralized management system.  Id.

On this record, we find that discussions with SMS regarding the deficiencies in its technical proposal were meaningful.  In addition, we do not find that the agency was obligated to continue to issue questions to SMS where the agency repeatedly led the offeror into the area of its proposal requiring revision and the offeror first introduced certain defects in response to a post-discussion proposal revision

Disparate Treatment

Finally, in its first supplemental protest, SMS argues that the agency evaluated offers unequally.  Specifically, SMS argues that to the extent the agency determined that its proposal does not satisfy the 25,000 concurrent user capacity requirement or demonstrate JITC certification and UC-APL listing, the awardee's proposal is similarly deficient.  First Supp. Protest at 2-5.  After reviewing the agency report, the protester additionally argues that the Telos solution contains a number of other alleged deficiencies that the agency should have identified, but did not, further reflecting disparate treatment of offers.  Comments & Supp. Protest at 6-16.  The agency responds that SMS's supplemental protest grounds are based on an unreasonable interpretation of the RFP and the Telos proposal, and amounts to nothing more than disagreement with the agency's technical evaluation.  Supp. COS/MOL at 2-16.

Where a protester alleges unequal treatment in a technical evaluation, it must show that the differences in ratings did not stem from differences between the offerors' proposals.  IndraSoft, Inc., B-414026, B-414026.2, Jan. 23, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 30 at 8-9; Paragon Sys., Inc.; SecTek, Inc., B-409066.2, B-409066.3, June 4, 2014, 2014 CPD ¶ 169 at 8-9.  Further, a protester's disagreement with the agency's judgment, by itself, is not sufficient to establish that an agency acted unreasonably.  Alion Sci. & Tech. Corp., B-410666, Jan. 22, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 91 at 6; STG, Inc., B-405101.3 et al., Jan. 12, 2012, 2012 CPD ¶ 48 at 7.

Based on our review of the record, we find no basis to question the agency's judgments in performing the evaluation.  Specifically, the record indicates that Telos offered a completely different solution comprised of equipment made by a different OEM than the solution proposed by SMS, and provided more detail in its initial proposal than did SMS.  See AR, Tab 5a, Telos Initial Proposal, at 17-21; Tab 5b, Telos Revised Proposal, at 15-19.  Following the evaluation of initial proposals, the agency issued three questions to Telos regarding its list of materials, and in its first proposal revision, Telos revised its proposal such that it was rated acceptable.  AR, Tab 9, Telos Questions, at 2-7.  We find no basis to conclude that the agency did not reasonably evaluate the Telos proposal, or treated the offerors disparately.

For example, SMS argues that Telos failed to demonstrate that its solution can satisfy the requirement that its system components support 25,000 concurrent users, because the product literature included a statement that performance would vary based on the complexity of the configuration.  Supp. Protest at 2-5.  However, the product data sheet for Telos' proposed [DELETED] device--submitted by the protester to support this allegation--states that the "max concurrent users (NAC)" is 50,000.  Id., Exh. A, [DELETED].  In addition, in its evaluation, the agency concluded that Telos "clearly identified all components they intend to deploy along with the logical connection with each other and the current system/subsystem" and that its proposed NAC solution had attained JITC certification and was listed on the UC-APL, and found the Telos proposal acceptable.  AR, Tab 10, Technical Evaluation, at 6-7.  We find no basis in the record to question the agency's conclusions.

Additionally, SMS argues that Telos also proposed a [DELETED] solution.  Protester's Comments & Supp. Protest, at 7-8.  However, nothing in the Telos proposal leads to such a conclusion.  Whereas the SMS proposal clearly states--and the protester does not dispute--that it proposed a [DELETED], the Telos proposal's list of materials states [DELETED] and never uses the term [DELETED] when discussing the [DELETED] capability of its proposed solution.  Compare AR, Tab 4c, SMS Second Proposal Revision, at 22, with Tab 5b, Telos First Proposal Revision, at 15-19.  As noted, the agency evaluated the Telos solution as acceptable.  AR, Tab 10, Technical Evaluation, at 6-7.  While SMS may disagree with the agency's conclusions, SMS's disagreement with those conclusions is insufficient to establish that the agency acted unreasonably or treated offerors unequally.  Ball Aerospace & Techs. Corp., B-411359, B-411359.2, July 16, 2015, 2015 CPD ¶ 219 at 7.

The protest is denied.

Susan A. Poling
General Counsel



[1] More specifically, the RFP stated: "The Government will consider, throughout the evaluation, the 'correction potential' of any proposal uncertainty.  The judgment of such 'correction potential' is within the sole discretion of the Government.  If an aspect of an Offeror's proposal not meeting the Government's requirements is not considered correctable, the Offeror may be eliminated from the competition."  RFP at 12.

[2] Section 4.1 of the TRD set forth 64 core requirements for the authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) system, including the requirement that the AAA system must support RADIUS user and IP-capable device authentication.  RFP at 220 (TRD section 4.1.1.14).  As the agency explains, [DELETED], but is only one aspect of a NAC and is not the same as controlling network devices.  COS/MOL at 25. 

[3] The awarded value of the delivery order at issue is $34,401,297.  Accordingly, this procurement is within our jurisdiction to hear protests related to the issuance  of orders under multiple-award IDIQ contracts valued over $25 million.  10 U.S.C. § 2304c(e)(1)(B).

[4] The agency states that the proposal's lack of detail led evaluators to review publically available original equipment manufacturer (OEM) data in order to determine the technical acceptability of SMS's proposal.  COS/MOL at 19; see AR, Tab 18, [DELETED] OEM Data.  The information from the OEM's website did not show the SMS solution could meet the 25,000 concurrent user requirement.  Id.

[5] To describe its proposed NAC solution, SMS provided two figures to depict its solution, but its narrative was less than one page long, and, as the agency explains, did not include a complete description of its NAC solution or how it would be integrated into the current system as required by the RFP.  See Tab 4a, SMS Initial Proposal, at 21-22; see also AR, Tab 6, SMS Consolidated Evaluation Worksheet, at 4.  Additionally, SMS's list of materials included only four hardware items, and no software licenses.  Id. at 21; see also AR, Tab 6, SMS Consolidated Evaluation Worksheet, at 6.

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