Intelligence Programs:

Inquiry Into Contracting Practices for a Classified Program

NSIAD-94-109: Published: Feb 28, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed an Air Force prime contractor's subcontract award for an electronic warfare component subsystem, focusing on a small disadvantaged business's (SDB) allegations that the prime contractor: (1) negotiated a lower bid price with a competitor but did not allow it to lower its bid; (2) used weighting factors in its bid evaluation process that discriminated against it; (3) earmarked the subcontract for a competitor; and (4) did not apply a SDB preference during its bid evaluation.

GAO found that: (1) contrary to its assertions, the SDB was not the low bidder; (2) the awardee increased its bid by more than 25 percent, but remained the low bidder; (3) the prime contractor consistently applied the prioritization and weighted factors specified in the solicitation; (4) there was no evidence that the Air Force or the prime contractor earmarked the subcontract for the awardee; (5) the prime contractor was not required to apply a SDB preference during its bid evaluation, and there would have been no significant change in the firms' ranking if the preference had been applied; (6) the prime contractor did not provide the SDB with some of the information it requested about the procurement because the procurement was classified; and (7) the SDB could accept the prime contractor's offer to provide a debriefing conference to obtain information that may assist it in improving its competitiveness in the future.

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