Protest of Army Contract Award

B-194554: Sep 4, 1979

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A firm protested the proposed award of an Army contract alleging that the awardee was not an approved source. Although this was not a qualified product list (QPL) procurement, the Army selected eight firms from the QPL to obtain names of potential suppliers, and requested quotations for equipment to comply with a drawing and other specifications. The procurement was conducted under small purchase procedures. The solicitation drawing contained the name Raytheon, which the protester contended was a source control type. The protester believed the award to be unfair, because it and another firm were the only companies approved by Raytheon as sources for this equipment. The protester believed that the fact that the awardee had previously supplied the item did not automatically give it approval, and argued that the awardee could not meet the solicitation specifications without undergoing major changes. The protester questioned the usefulness of having a Government Source Inspection at the awardee's plant, because it would not prove that the awardee's equipment could conform to all the specifications. GAO did not think the drawing was a source control type, since it did not require that a bidder be an approved source in order to bid; its use did not impose a duty on the Army to solicit companies approved by Raytheon. The contention that the Army should have restricted the competition to only approved sources conflicted with the objectives of the GAO bid protest function to insure attainment of full and free competition was inappropriate for review. Generally, GAO does not review cases involving objections to an an agency's affirmative determination of an awardee's ability to meet specifications. GAO found that a determination as to which provisions should be included in a solicitation to assure that items being procured will meet the Government's needs was within the judgment of the contracting agency. The protest was denied.

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