Protest of Navy's Minimum Needs Requirement

B-193694: Aug 10, 1979

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A protester alleged that a request for proposal (RFP) described the product of one manufacturer only who was awarded a contract for spectrum analyzers. The protester stated that its analyzer was used successfully in a Navy program and was identical to the awardee's product; that the Navy's reports did not justify the stated minimum requirements; that the protester was never notified that testing of its model would result in a restrictive procurement; and that the determination to award before the resolution of the protest on the grounds of urgency was erroneous. GAO held that the Navy's post-protest statement of minimum requirements found in the product which is subject of a sole-source contract may overstate requirements; nevertheless, GAO cannot question the Navy's needs. GAO recommended that actual needs for option requirements be reexamined and if the reexamination suggests that competitive procurement would be in order, option in a sole-source contract should not be exercised. Based on facts of the record, GAO concluded that the protester was given some advance indication that the protested sole-source procurement would be initiated unless industry sources offered products essentially comparable to the sole-source product; GAO is unaware of any regulation that requires pre-solicitation notice of sole-source intent. Since, as a practical matter, the validity of the award cannot be questioned, nor can the stated urgency of the applications of the analyzer in specific Navy programs, the protester was not prejudiced by award prior to the resolution of the protest. The protest seeking award termination was dismissed.