[Protest of Air Force Solicitation for Travel Management Services]

B-285164.2,B-285164.3: Aug 31, 2000

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Several firms protested an Air Force task order for travel management services, contending that the: (1) task order was beyond the scope of the contract; (2) Air Force failed to prepare an acquisition plan; and (3) Air Force improperly allowed its contract to lapse in order to perform the services in-house. Four of the firms that were small businesses contended that the solicitation should have been set aside for small businesses. The Air Force contended that: (1) GAO did not have the jurisdiction to review the protests, since procurement regulations limits any challenge to task orders issued under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract; and (2) the protests challenging its decision not to set the solicitation aside for small businesses were untimely filed. GAO held that: (1) it did not have the jurisdictional authority to review the Air Force's failure to prepare an acquisition plan or its decision to perform the services in-house; (2) the protests challenging the Air Force's decision not to set the solicitation aside for small businesses were timely filed, since several federal agencies led the protesters' to conclude that the solicitation should have been a small business set-aside; and (3) the Air Force's solicitation violated procurement regulations by not setting the solicitation aside for small businesses. Accordingly, the protests of the small businesses were sustained, and GAO recommended that the Air Force: (1) cancel the impending task orders and procure the services in compliance with statutory regulations governing small business set-asides; and (2) reimburse the small businesses for their protest costs.