Protest of Solicitations Issued by Defense Logistics Agency

B-198105: Oct 21, 1980

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A company protested several solicitations by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for radio frequency interference filters. Even though the company referred to the solicitations, the protest was against the agency's general practice in purchasing certain filters. In the solicitations for certain radio frequency interference filters that are used as spares for various military end item applications, DLA listed a company's filters, by part numbers, as approved items. However, the protester and other firms offering alternative filters submitted for evaluation with their bids, samples and a technical data package. The protester alleged that the practice of automatically approving a competitor's filters gave that firm an unfair competitive advantage. DLA reported that the Government has either no technical data whatsoever for the filters or only limited data which are inadequate for a competitive procurement. In those instances, the approved company's part number was the only description available, and other offerors proposing alternative items were required to show that their products were either identical or functionally, physically, mechanically, and electrically interchangeable with the specified company part number. In addition, DLA reported that the filters were used in critical radar and weapons systems applications and were designated sources to be controlled under Defense regulations. The regulations authorize procurement of replacement parts other than those of a standard configuration only from sources that have satisfactorily manufactured or furnished such parts in the past unless fully adequate data, test results, and quality assurance procedures are available with the right to use for procurement purposes. The protester did not object to the approved source system; it contended that the company did not qualify as a approved source. GAO held that the protester had not affirmatively supported its allegations. The approval of the company as a qualified source was held to be reasonable. While DLA had the access to the company's data, the company would not permit the agency to disclose the data. Thus, the Government did not have available enough information for a brand name or equal solicitation. Accordingly, the protest was denied.