[Protest Alleging Two Nonresponsive Bids Under Corps of Engineers Procurement]

B-214180: May 18, 1984

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A firm protested that two bids under an Army Corps of Engineers solicitation were nonresponsive because they did not meet an experience requirement established by an Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering determination. The protester contended that the Corps was legally bound to apply this requirement to the procurement in question. The protester also contended that neither bidder had the required experience. Both the Corps and one of the bidders argued that the protest was untimely because the protester was aware of the determination at the time the solicitation was issued and knew that the solicitation language differed from that in the determination. Therefore, the matter should have been protested prior to the closing date set for receipt of proposals. GAO found that, to be considered timely, the protester should have at least sought clarification from the agency prior to the date set for receipt of proposal. In addition, GAO found the question to be academic because, after the protester filed its complaint, the Corps requested and received a modification of the determination to reflect the agency's actual needs. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed.