[Protest of DLA Procurement Procedures]

B-206111.2,B-207243.2,B-207702.2,B-207779.2,B-208006: Mar 16, 1983

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Two firms filed various protests against Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) procurement procedures which authorize the procurement of foreign-manufactured, specialty metal end products for use by the Department of Defense (DOD). GAO dismissed one of the protests as academic because the rejection by DLA of that protester's bid samples rendered the protester ineligible for award. The other protester argued that the DOD Appropriation Act, 1982, and a GAO decision prohibited DOD activities from purchasing special metal end products which have not been entirely manufactured within the United States or its possessions. DLA contended that it can properly purchase such end products if the specialty metals have been melted domestically, notwithstanding the fact that the end products are manufactured overseas. GAO stated that, in questions of this sort, deference is to be accorded to the interpretation given a statute by the agency charged with its administration, and GAO did not object to the DLA interpretation. In addition, the protester contended that the cancellation of a solicitation because of defective specifications and resolicitation was improper. In this case, GAO found the cancellation and resolicitation to be proper, since the solicitation as issued could have misled bidders to offer unacceptable items. Finally, the protester contended that a solicitation should have warned bidders that the DOD Appropriation Act prohibition against DOD purchase of special metals did not apply to procurements not in excess of $10,000. GAO found no basis for the protester's position in any statutory or regulatory requirement. However, GAO was advised that DLA solicitations now contain this warning. Accordingly, one firm's protests were denied, and the other's protest was dismissed.