[Protest of Army Contract Award Alleging Awardee Did Not Satisfy Requirements]

B-212018,B-212018.2: Jul 1, 1983

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Two firms protested an Army contract award under a solicitation for a specified computer or its equivalent. The protesters contended that the awardee's model did not satisfy the solicitation's requirements that the computer offered be: (1) state-of-the-art, (2) commercially available, and (3) in current production. GAO noted that the General Services Administration has filed comments which generally support the protesters' position. A basic principle of Federal procurement law is that specifications must be sufficiently definite and free from ambiguity to permit competition on a common basis. In the opinion of GAO, the three requirements in question had sufficient latitude in their common, ordinary meanings to include all of the parties' interpretations; therefore, the offerers did not compete on a common basis. Accordingly, the protest was sustained. GAO recommended that the Army clarify the meaning of these terms in this solicitation, initiate a new round of best and final offers and, if a more advantageous offer is received, terminate the contract.

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