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TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 30. THERE IS ENCLOSED A COPY OF OUR LETTER OF TODAY TO THE PROTESTING BIDDER. WHICH IS SELF-EXPLANATORY. IT IS ADMITTED IN THE ABOVE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30. THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE TO HAVE HANDLED THIS PARTICULAR PROCUREMENT ON A NEGOTIATED BASIS BY REQUESTING COMPETITIVE PROPOSALS FROM THE THREE BIDDERS WHOSE PRODUCTS HAD RECEIVED INTERIM APPROVAL FROM THE AIR FORCE RATHER THAN TO SPECIFY IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS THAT ONLY DEPOT APPROVED PRODUCTS WERE ACCEPTABLE. IT THUS APPEARS THAT THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS AND CONDITIONS WERE RESTRICTIVE TO THE POINT OF PRECLUDING FREE AND OPEN COMPETITION.

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B-124767, NOV. 3, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1955, FROM THE DEPUTY FOR PROCUREMENT AND PRODUCTION, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, IN RESPONSE TO OUR LETTER OF JULY 25, 1955, TO YOU, CONCERNING THE PROTEST OF OCTAGON PROCESS, INC., AGAINST THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO ANOTHER BIDDER PURSUANT TO IFB NO. 28-609-55-98 ISSUED AT MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE.

THERE IS ENCLOSED A COPY OF OUR LETTER OF TODAY TO THE PROTESTING BIDDER, WHICH IS SELF-EXPLANATORY.

IT IS ADMITTED IN THE ABOVE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1955, THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE TO HAVE HANDLED THIS PARTICULAR PROCUREMENT ON A NEGOTIATED BASIS BY REQUESTING COMPETITIVE PROPOSALS FROM THE THREE BIDDERS WHOSE PRODUCTS HAD RECEIVED INTERIM APPROVAL FROM THE AIR FORCE RATHER THAN TO SPECIFY IN THE INVITATION FOR BIDS THAT ONLY DEPOT APPROVED PRODUCTS WERE ACCEPTABLE.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS AND CONDITIONS WERE RESTRICTIVE TO THE POINT OF PRECLUDING FREE AND OPEN COMPETITION. WHILE NO FURTHER QUESTION WILL BE RAISED TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN THIS INSTANCE, THE MATTER IS BEING BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION FOR SUCH ACTION AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ASSURE THAT IN FUTURE CASES EVERY EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO STATE SPECIFICATIONS AND BID CONDITIONS IN TERMS THAT WILL RESULT IN THE BROADEST FIELD OF COMPETITION CONSISTENT WITH THE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS.

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