B-299869.2, VT Griffin Services, Inc., November 10, 2008

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


Matter of: VT Griffin Services, Inc.

File: B-299869.2

Date: November 10, 2008

Richard J. Conway, Esq., David M. Nadler, Esq., and David Y. Yang, Esq., Dickstein Shapiro LLP, for the protester.
Drew A. Harker, Esq., and Jill Newell Chung, Esq., Arnold & Porter LLP, for BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, an intervenor.
Maj. Timothy A. Furin, Department of the Army, for the agency.
Jonathan L. Kang, Esq., and Ralph O. White, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the decision.


1. Protester’s challenge to the evaluation of its key personnel experience is denied where the resume for a proposed individual did not list employment that demonstrated compliance with the minimum experience requirements.

2. Protester’s challenge to the evaluation of its staffing plan is denied where agency reasonably determined that the protester did not propose sufficient higher-skilled personnel, and also reasonably determined that the proposal’s cross-utilization staffing approach did not address this weakness.


VT Griffin Services, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia, protests the award of a contract to BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services by the Department of the Army under request for proposals (RFP) No. W912CN-05-R-0090, for logistical support and services. The protester contends that the Army’s evaluation of its technical proposal was flawed, and that, as a result, the selection decision was unreasonable.

We deny the protest.


The RFP was issued on June 16, 2006, and sought proposals to provide logistics support and services for all Army organizations in Hawaii. The RFP identified four primary areas of services to be provided: supply services, transportation, maintenance, and satellite facility operations. The RFP anticipated award of a cost-plus award fee contract with a 5-month base period, five 1-year option periods, and three 1-year award term periods.

The RFP stated that offerors would be evaluated based on the following six evaluation factors: (1) technical resources, which had four subfactors--staffing and planning, key personnel qualifications, transition planning, and contingency planning; (2) technical approach, which had two subfactors--processes and procedures, and contingency support; (3) performance risk; (4) quality control, which had two subfactors--quality control techniques, and preventative measures; (5) small business program support, which had three subfactors--small and disadvantaged business (SDB) participation, small business participation, and past performance compliance; and (6) cost. The RFP stated that subfactors one and two were of equal importance, and that subfactors three through five were of lesser importance and were listed in descending order of importance. These combined non-cost factors were “significantly more important” than cost. RFP at 66.

As relevant here, the RFP identified six key personnel positions, each of which had a minimum experience requirement. RFP at 54. These six key positions were to be assessed under the key personnel qualifications factor of the technical resources evaluation factor. Offerors were required to submit resumes that identified the proposed individuals’ employment history and relevant experience.

For the staffing and planning subfactor of the technical resources evaluation factor, offerors were required to “provide and describe a comprehensive Staffing Plan that will be followed during contract performance.” RFP at 53. Offerors were required to describe “the labor categories proposed, the number of hours proposed for each labor category per year, the number of personnel assigned to each labor category, and their job descriptions, authority/responsibility and functions.” Id. The RFP also stated that offerors could propose to “cross-utilize” proposed personnel, as follows: “Describe methods and procedures, if any, for cross-utilization of assigned personnel within and between major functional areas.” Id.

The Army received proposals from seven offerors by the initial closing date of September 8, 2006. The agency convened a source selection evaluation board (SSEB) to evaluate the offerors’ proposals, and established a competitive range of the two most highly-rated proposals, consisting of VT Griffin and BAE. The agency conducted discussions with both companies, and requested and evaluated final proposal revisions (FPRs). The Army awarded the contract to BAE on May 31, 2007. On June 11, 2007, VT Griffin filed a protest with our Office, and on July 11, the agency took corrective action. Because the agency’s corrective action rendered the protest academic, it was dismissed on July 13, 2007.

Following dismissal of the protest, the Army provided both VT Griffin and BAE with a debriefing. The agency then conducted an additional round of discussions with the offerors and requested a second FPR. As relevant here, VT Griffin’s second FPR substituted certain of its key personnel, and also revised its proposed staffing for the maintenance portion of the work requirements. In its evaluation of the protester’s second FPR, the Army identified concerns under both the key personnel qualifications, and the staffing and planning subfactors of the technical resources evaluation factor. With regard to key personnel, the agency concluded that the individual substituted for the maintenance manager position did not meet the requirement of having “[t]en years of current Army management logistics experience.” Agency Report (AR), Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 10. With regard to the revisions to the staffing plan, the agency found that the protester had reduced its proposed number of higher-skilled motor vehicle mechanics and heavy equipment mechanics, and increased the proposed number of lower-skilled automotive workers. Id. at 14.

The results of the revaluation of VT Griffin’s proposal were as follows:[1]




Staffing and Planning


Key Personnel Qualifications


Transition Planning

Very Good/None

Contingency Planning



Processes and Procedures


Contingency Support





Quality Control Techniques


Preventative Measures



SDB Participation

Very Good/Minor

Small Business Participation

Very Good/Minor

Past Performance Compliance




AR, Tab 87, Revised SSD, at 2-3.

On July 28, the Army again selected BAE’s proposal for award. Id. at 43. The agency concluded that although BAE’s most probable cost was higher, at $205,467,025, its more highly-rated technical proposal merited the cost premium. The agency provided VT Griffin a debriefing letter along with the notice of award. This protest followed.


VT Griffin challenges the Army’s evaluation of its proposal under both the staffing and planning and the key personnel qualifications subfactors of the technical resources evaluation factor. The protester also argues that, based on these alleged evaluation errors, the source selection decision was unreasonable. For the reasons discussed below, we find no merit to these arguments.

The evaluation of an offeror’s proposal is a matter within the agency’s discretion. IPlus, Inc., B-298020, B-298020.2, June 5, 2006, 2006 CPD para. 90 at 7, 13. In reviewing a protest of an agency’s evaluation of proposals or quotes, including technical evaluations, our Office will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations. See Shumaker Trucking & Excavating Contractors, Inc., B-290732, Sept. 25, 2002, 2002 CPD para. 169 at 3. A protester’s mere disagreement with the agency’s judgment in its evaluation of the relative merit of competing proposals or quotes does not establish that the evaluation was unreasonable. C. Lawrence Constr. Co., Inc., B-287066, Mar. 30, 2001, 2001 CPD para. 70 at 4.

Key Personnel Qualifications Evaluation

VT Griffin argues that the Army unreasonably concluded that its proposed maintenance manager did not meet the minimum experience requirements. For the reasons discussed below, we disagree.

As discussed above, the RFP required offerors to submit resumes for six key personnel positions, and to address, as relevant here, the individuals’ employment history and relevant experience. The RFP advised that “[f]ailure to provide the required information will impact the Government’s evaluation of offeror’s proposals.” RFP at 54. For the position of maintenance manager, key personnel candidates were required to have “[t]en years of current Army management logistics experience.” Id.

Under the key personnel qualifications subfactor, the Army rated VT Griffin’s initial proposal and first FPR as exceptional/no risk. AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 9. In its second FPR, however, VT Griffin had replaced several of its proposed key personnel, including the maintenance manager. In its evaluation of the second FPR, the Army stated that the proposed maintenance manager’s resume did not “reflect that he meets the minimum requirement of ten years of current Army management logistics experience.” Id. at 10. Specifically, the agency concluded that the list of positions held by the individual showed only 9 years of experience. Based on this weakness, the Army rated VT Griffin’s second FPR for the key personnel subfactor as marginal/moderate risk. Id. at 9; AR, Tab 87, Revised SSD, at 2, 5.

The resume for VT Griffin’s proposed maintenance manager listed three positions, as follows:

US Army, 2006-Present -- [deleted]

US Army, 2002-2006 - [deleted]

US Army, 1999-2002 - [deleted]

AR, Tab 75, VT Griffin Second FPR, at 63.

Additionally, the resume stated that, apart from the three positions listed above, the proposed individual had the following experience: “Over 23 years of experience in support of direct US Army logistics Management operations as a US Army Maintenance Warrant Officer.” Id. at 65.

Although the Army reviewed this resume and concluded that it did not demonstrate 10 years of experience,[2] VT Griffin argues that the Army erred because the resume states that the individual had “[o]ver 23 years of experience” in Army logistics management. We do not think this statement, standing alone, demonstrates that the individual met the RFP’s experience requirements. In this regard, the RFP required offerors to detail the employment history and relevant experience of key personnel, and we think the agency reviewed the experience and reasonably concluded that it did not meet the RFP’s minimum experience requirements. It is well-settled that it is the offeror’s duty to include sufficiently detailed information to establish that its proposal meets the solicitation requirements, and that blanket statements of full compliance are insufficient to fulfill this duty. IVI Corp., B-310766, Jan. 23, 2008, 2008 CPD para. 21 at 3; see also Lincoln Prop. Co., B-247664, May 22, 1992, 92-1 CPD para. 469 at 4-5. On this record, we conclude that VT Griffin’s arguments lack merit.[3]

Staffing and Planning Evaluation

Next, VT Griffin argues that the Army’s evaluation of its proposal under the staffing and planning subfactor of the technical resources evaluation factor was unreasonable. For the reasons discussed below, we disagree.

The Army rated VT Griffin’s first FPR under this subfactor as satisfactory/moderate risk. As discussed above, VT Griffin’s second FPR revised its proposed staffing by reducing the number of higher-skilled mechanics, and increasing the numbers of lower-skilled automotive workers, as follows:

First FPR

Second FPR

Motor Vehicle Mechanics



Heavy Equipment Mechanics



Motor Vehicle Mechanic Helpers



Automotive Workers



AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 14.

In evaluating VT Griffin’s second FPR, the Army concluded that the protester’s “proposed maintenance staff and its cross utilization approach to staffing would not accomplish Army maintenance standards adequately based on the density and type of equipment in the RFP.” Id. at 12. The agency further stated that “[a]lthough . . . [VT Griffin’s] second revised proposal significantly increased its total maintenance staffing from their previous proposals, it does not provide the necessary mix of skilled mechanics and less skilled workers and helpers to ensure its cross utilization approach to accomplishing the maintenance workload will succeed.” Id. at 14. Based on these concerns, the Army lowered VT Griffin’s rating under this subfactor to marginal/moderate risk.

The protester challenges the agency’s evaluation of its proposed staffing for the maintenance requirements in four areas: (1) the agency’s conclusion that the protester had not proposed a sufficient number of higher-skilled mechanics to perform the work; (2) the agency’s conclusion about the inadequacy of the proposed cross-utilization of personnel across different work requirements; (3) the agency’s evaluation of the protester’s staffing levels under two areas of the performance work statement, left behind equipment (LBE) maintenance, and non-Stryker vehicle (NSV) maintenance; and (4) the reasonableness of the marginal/moderate risk rating for this subfactor in light of more positive ratings under other evaluation factors.

As a preliminary matter, the Army noted in its evaluation that because VT Griffin’s proposal did not define its proposed positions, the agency relied upon the definitions issued by the Department of Labor under the Service Contract Act. These definitions explain the duties of heavy equipment mechanics, motor vehicle mechanics, and automotive workers. There is no dispute in this record that the Service Contract Act definitions for these positions set out a decreasing level of expertise and experience as the definitions move from heavy equipment mechanic to motor vehicle mechanic to automotive worker. See AR, Tab 75, Revised SSEB Report, at 13.

(1) Staffing with higher-skilled personnel

First, the protester argues that the RFP’s maintenance requirements did not require as many higher-skilled personnel as the agency believed, and that, therefore, its proposed staffing plan was adequate. The Army’s evaluation cited two examples of vehicle maintenance requirements to illustrate its general concern regarding VT Griffin’s proposed labor mix: the high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) and the heavy expanded mobility tactical truck (HEMTT). Id. at 14. In the revised SSEB report, the agency created two exhibits which listed types of maintenance work that the agency believed required heavy equipment mechanics and motor vehicle mechanics, and would not be appropriate for performance by lower-skilled automotive workers. Id. at Exhs. 1 and 2.

As a general matter, VT Griffin disputes the Army’s conclusions about which of these requirements are appropriate for lower-skilled automotive workers. The protester, however, simply asserts that “even a cursory review” of the requirements indicates that the “vast majority” of them are appropriate for performance by automotive workers. Protesters Comments on AR at 9. We do not believe the protester’s general characterizations demonstrate that the agency’s evaluation was unreasonable.

With regard to the specific HMMWV and HEMTT maintenance tasks, the agency concluded that the “list of maintenance and repair tasks is extensive and each requires the skills of Heavy Equipment Mechanics and/or Motor Vehicle Mechanics, rather than Automotive Workers and Helpers, to ensure it is successfully completed to Army standards.” AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 6. With regard to the specific requirements, the agency distinguished the skills appropriate for higher and lower-skilled workers on the following basis:

The type of work required, based on equipment type, density and Army maintenance standards, clearly require skilled mechanics with knowledge of diesel engines, hydraulic systems, electrical systems, power trains and diagnostic skills to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair the sophisticated equipment. Automotive workers lack these skills.

AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 7.

VT Griffin argues that the HMMWV and HEMTT maintenance requirements cited by the agency are also appropriate for lower-skilled automotive workers. We disagree. The tasks cited by the agency involve services not included in the automotive helper’s work description. See id. at 13. For example, the requirements for maintaining these vehicles include diagnostic evaluations and repairs of transmission, fuel, cooling, and hydraulic systems. AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, Exhs. 1-2. In this regard, the duties of a heavy equipment mechanic include analyzing problems, conducting diagnostic tests, and repairing and maintaining heavy equipment; a motor vehicle mechanic performs similar complex tasks for automobiles, such as repairing and rebuilding of major assemblies, and diagnosing problems with the vehicles. In contrast, an automotive worker performs “minor repairs and services” or automobiles, such as checking and replacing batteries, cleaning the interior and exterior of vehicles, and assisting on major jobs; the automotive worker does not perform diagnostic work or work on complex systems in heavy equipment. On this record, we find no merit to the protester’s challenge to the agency’s interpretation of the RFP requirements, nor do we find any basis to question the agency’s criticism of the reduced levels of higher-skilled workers proposed by the protester in its second FPR.

(2) Cross-utilization approach

Next, VT Griffin argues that the Army’s conclusion that its cross-utilization approach posed a risk to successful performance was not reasonable; moreover, the protester argues that its approach should have addressed the agency’s concerns regarding the adequacy of its proposed staffing levels.

As discussed above, the RFP permitted offerors to propose cross-utilization of personnel. In its proposal, VT Griffin stated that it would cross-utilize personnel amongst the divisions of work assigned to perform the maintenance requirements of the RFP, as follows:

We will cross utilize personnel between [deleted], to ensure maximum response and flexibility, e.g., [deleted]. Cross Utilization within the [deleted] will be managed by the [deleted] in conjunction with [deleted]. Persons cross utilized will have the proper training and certification to perform the job to which they are assigned.

AR, Tab 75, VT Griffin Second FPR, at 42.

The protester further explained that the cross-utilization approach would be used to “support temporary increases in workloads due to contingencies, deployments, emergencies, etc.” Id. at 126.

As discussed above, the Army recognized that VT Griffin had proposed an overall higher number of FTEs in is second FPR, but expressed concern that the new labor mix contained fewer higher-skilled FTEs, and more lower-skilled FTEs. The Army concluded that the mix of labor proposed in VT Griffin’s second FPR “represents a serious reduction in skill level and creates a risk that its cross utilization approach to maintenance staffing will [not] succeed.” AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 15. Although the agency recognized that the protester had proposed a cross-utilization approach that would allow for personnel assigned to one area to be temporarily reassigned to a different one, the agency nonetheless expressed concern about whether enough higher-skilled workers would be available. In this regard, the agency stated that “[w]hile the [deleted] mechanics [proposed] are fully capable of performing the type of work performed by the [deleted] automotive workers and helpers, the reverse is not the case.” Id. at 14.

We think the Army’s evaluation was reasonable in light of the agency’s concerns regarding the work required, i.e., the complexity of the tasks and need for higher-skilled workers. In this regard, the record shows that VT Griffin reduced the two higher-skilled positions from [deleted] to [deleted] full-time equivalent (FTE) personnel, and increased the two lower-skilled positions from [deleted] to [deleted] FTEs. Although VT Griffin repeatedly argues that a cross-utilization approach was permitted by the solicitation, the protester does not explain how its approach to staffing addresses the agency’s overall concern that VT Griffin proposed too few higher-skilled FTEs. Moreover, the protester’s cross-utilization approach states that it is intended “to ensure maximum response and flexibility,” and to “support temporary increases in workloads due to contingencies, deployments, emergencies, etc.” AR, Tab 75, VT Griffin Second FPR, at 42, 126. The protester has not explained, and its proposal does not demonstrate, how the cross-utilization approach addresses the apparent shortfalls in NSV staffing, or does anything more than allow for reallocation of personnel from one area to another to address temporary contingencies or emergencies.

(3) Left behind equipment/Non-Stryker vehicle maintenance staffing

Next, VT Griffin argues that the Army’s concerns regarding its proposed staffing for LBE/NSV maintenance were not reasonable. The protester contends that the agency overestimated the skill level required for the work, and also argues that the agency also did not understand the protester’s approach to cross-utilization for these specific requirements.

In its second FPR, VT Griffin’s summary of its proposed personnel for all maintenance requirements listed [deleted] FTEs for “heavy equipment mechanics, lead,” and [deleted] FTEs for “heavy equipment mechanics,” for a total of [deleted] heavy mechanics. AR, Tab 75, VT Griffin Second FPR, at 51-52. With regard to the specific allocation of FTEs for the maintenance requirements, the protester identified the following assignments: [deleted] lead heavy equipment mechanics for the LBE requirements; [deleted] lead heavy equipment mechanics for the NSV requirements; and [deleted] heavy equipment mechanics for a third category of maintenance requirements, construction and materiel handling equipment (CMHE). Id. at 43-46.

The Army expressed concern that VT Griffin’s second FPR reduced the number of heavy equipment mechanics proposed for LBE/NSB maintenance from [deleted] to [deleted] FTEs, while increasing the number of automotive workers from [deleted] to [deleted]. AR, Tab 85, Revised SSEB Report, at 14. The agency concluded that the level of heavy equipment mechanics was “not sufficient to support LBE/NSV requirements, especially in the NSV area.” Id. at 15. With regard to the NSV requirements, the agency noted that “NSV maintenance requirements include significant amounts of heavy/construction equipment and the low number of Heavy Equipment Mechanics is insufficient to accomplish successfully this maintenance approach.” Id.

VT Griffin contends that the Army should have understood its proposal for staffing heavy mechanics for the LBE/NSV requirements to have included not only the [deleted] FTEs explicitly assigned to that work category, but the [deleted] FTEs assigned to the CMHE requirements as well, for a total of [deleted] FTEs. In this regard, the protester argues that its cross-utilization approach anticipated that personnel from one work area could also be assigned to other work areas, and that the agency should therefore have understood that all [deleted] heavy mechanics proposed for the maintenance requirements were available to staff the LBE/NSV requirements.

We think that the Army reasonably concluded that VT Griffin proposed [deleted] heavy mechanics for the LBE/NSV requirements. The protester’s proposal stated that the FTEs assigned to the LBE, NSV, and CMHE requirements were all full-time personnel. Thus, we do not agree with the protester that the agency should have understood that the [deleted] FTEs assigned to perform the CMHE requirements on a full-time basis were also available to perform the LBE/NSV requirements.[4] Additionally, as discussed above, we think the protester’s cross-utilization approach addressed the ability to “support temporary increases in workloads due to contingencies, deployments, emergencies, etc.” AR, Tab 75, VT Griffin Second FPR, at 126. Thus, we do not think the protester’s cross-utilization approach addresses the agency’s concern regarding the overall numbers of higher-skilled personnel available to perform the work.

VT Griffin also challenges the Army’s conclusion that it had proposed too few heavy mechanic FTEs to provide maintenance for the “significant amounts of heavy/construction equipment” under the LBE/NSV requirements. AR, Tab 75, Revised SSEB Report, at 15. The protester notes that the solicitation lists 4,180 pieces of equipment, of which 1,011 are heavy/construction pieces. The protester argues that this “amounts to only 24-percent, which by definition, is not a significant amount of heavy equipment relative to the overall number of equipment pieces requiring maintenance.” Protester’s Comments on AR at 7. We do not think that the agency’s use of the term “significant” with regard to almost one-quarter of the relevant requirements was unreasonable. Put differently, we think the protester’s argument lacks merit because it would require us to conclude that an agency could not reasonably define a 24-percent requirement as “significant.” The agency’s conclusion that VT Griffin did not propose enough heavy mechanics is reasonable and supported by the record.

(4) Consistency of evaluation ratings

Finally, VT Griffin argues that its rating of marginal/moderate risk under the staffing and planning subfactor was inconsistent with its ratings under other evaluation factors. Specifically, the protester notes that it received a rating of exceptional/ minor risk under the performance risk evaluation factor, and ratings of exceptional/no risk under the quality control techniques and preventative measures subfactors of the quality control evaluation factor. VT Griffin contends that the lower ratings are inconsistent with the higher ratings because, under those higher ratings, the agency found that the protester had a high likelihood of successfully performing the contract requirements.

We think this argument lacks merit because the various evaluation factors and subfactors cited by the protester measured different aspects of the offerors’ proposals. The staffing and planning subfactor required offerors to address “how personnel will be staffed for all functions identified in the performance work statement.” RFP at 55. In contrast, performance risk evaluation factor stated that the agency would assess “performance risk based on the degree to which current and previous . . . contract efforts indicate the probability of the offeror successfully accomplishing contract requirements throughout the performance period.” RFP at 65. Also in contrast to the staffing and planning subfactor, the quality control subfactor stated that the agency would evaluate “the degree to which an offeror’s quality control process would present a risk of nonperformance of services, maintain quality of service, and enhance service stability by implementation of proposed methods.” Id. at 66.

The record shows that the RFP’s evaluation scheme and the agency’s evaluation appropriately treated the staffing proposal, performance risk, and quality control evaluation factors and subfactors as distinct elements of the evaluation. Thus, we do not think it was inconsistent for the Army to criticize the adequacy of VT Griffin’s staffing and planning proposal, while also expressing confidence in the likelihood of successful performance within the specific context of past performance and quality control plans.

The protest is denied.

Gary L. Kepplinger
General Counsel

[1] The issues in this protest concern only the Army’s evaluation of VT Griffin’s proposal. Our discussion in this decision therefore addresses only the evaluation ratings assigned by the agency to the protester.

[2] The resume was submitted with VT Griffin’s second FPR on September 17, 2007--thus, at that time, the individual’s listed experience was from an unspecified date in 1999 until the date of the FPR, i.e., between 7 and 8 years. At the time of the new contract award in July 2008, following the corrective action, the individual’s experience was between 8 and 9 years.

[3] VT Griffin also argues that because the individual holds the rank of a CW4-grade warrant officer, a position which is consistent with having a minimum 12 to 14 years of in-grade experience, the Army should have considered him to have the requisite 10 years of experience. Protester’s Comments on AR at 5. We think this argument lacks merit as well. An individual’s military rank does not necessarily indicate the individual’s experience; for example, the rank does not demonstrate that the individual spent any particular time performing the type of Army management logistics required by the solicitation. The protester also argues that, because the individual was in active duty service, the Army could have verified the individual’s experience by reviewing his personnel records. Id. at 6. We think this argument also lacks merit because it is an offeror’s obligation to fully detail how a key personnel resume meets the RFP requirements. Even assuming this type of detailed information exists here, there is no obligation for an agency to search its own personnel records for information that an offeror failed to include in its proposal. SGT, Inc., B-294722.4, July 28, 2005, 2005 CPD para. 151 at 13-14.

[4] VT Griffin argues that the Army should have known that the protester had overstated its CMHE staffing, and would therefore have excess capacity for staffing the LBE/NSV requirements. Protester’s Response to GAO Questions, Oct. 30, 2008, at 2-3. We find no merit to this argument, as the protester’s proposal did not state that the CMHE requirements had been intentionally overstaffed to permit cross utilization. This position simply appears unreasonable on the record.