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A firm initially protested a prospective Navy contract award pursuant to the request for proposals (RFP). Later, the Navy canceled the RFP because of a change in specifications, and the firm filed a subsequent protest objecting to the cancellation. The Navy stated that the RFP was canceled because the specifications criteria were too broad and required modifications to meet the contract obligations. GAO stated that specifications cancellation is basically a matter for the sound judgment and discretion of responsible agency officials. Therefore, a decision to cancel is subject to review by GAO only if it is clearly shown to be without a reasonable basis. GAO found that the Navy's decision was reasonable. Accordingly, the protest against the cancellation was denied.

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B-204018.2, DEC 15, 1981

DIGEST: DECIDING WHETHER TO CANCEL AN RFP IS BASICALLY A MATTER FOR THE SOUND JUDGMENT AND DISCRETION OF RESPONSIBLE AGENCY OFFICIALS. THE NAVY'S DECISION TO USE A SPECIFIC MILITARY SPECIFICATION RATHER THAN A FEDERAL SPECIFICATION, INITIALLY USED, WAS REASONABLE.

HOLMES AMBULANCE SERVICE CORP.:

HOLMES AMBULANCE SERVICE CORP. (HOLMES) INITIALLY PROTESTED THE PROSPECTIVE CONTRACT AWARD TO AID AMBULANCE SERVICE, INC. (AID), PURSUANT TO REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) NO. N00140-81-R-BH83 ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY (NAVY). THE RFP SOLICITED PROPOSALS FOR MEDICAL TRANSPORT OF ACTIVE UNITED STATES NAVY AND MARINE CORPS PATIENTS THROUGHOUT THE NEW YORK CITY AREA; PRIMARILY FROM CIVILIAN HOSPITALS TO UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HOSPITALS OR J.F.K. AIRPORT FOR AIR MEDICAL EVACUATION TO OTHER NAVAL HOSPITALS. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE NAVY CANCELED THIS RFP BECAUSE OF A CHANGE IN SPECIFICATIONS AND HOLMES FILED A PROTEST OBJECTING TO THE CANCELLATION.

THE PROTEST IS WITHOUT MERIT.

HOLMES' POSITION IS THAT AWARD SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO HOLMES RATHER THAN CANCELING THE RFP, SINCE HOLMES COMPLIED WITH ALL OF THE RFP'S REQUIREMENTS. HOLMES QUESTIONS THE NAVY'S MOTIVATION IN CHANGING THE SPECIFICATIONS TO MEET THE CHARACTERISTICS OF AID'S AMBULANCES.

ESSENTIALLY, THE NAVY STATES THAT THE RFP WAS CANCELED BECAUSE THE FEDERAL SPECIFICATION INITIALLY USED WAS TOO BROAD IN THAT IT REQUIRED MORE THAN NECESSARY TO PERFORM THE DESIRED TRANSPORTING SERVICES. THE AMBULANCE DESCRIBED WAS FOR USE IN ADMINISTERING PREHOSPITAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES. UPON SUBSEQUENT REVIEW, THE NAVY DECIDED THAT A SPECIFIC MILITARY SPECIFICATION BETTER DESCRIBED A PATIENT TRANSPORT VEHICLE.

DECIDING WHETHER TO CANCEL AN RFP IS BASICALLY A MATTER FOR THE SOUND JUDGMENT AND DISCRETION OF RESPONSIBLE AGENCY OFFICIALS. THEREFORE, A DECISION TO CANCEL IS SUBJECT TO OBJECTION UPON REVIEW BY OUR OFFICE ONLY IF IT IS CLEARLY SHOWN TO BE WITHOUT A REASONABLE BASIS. SEMICONDUCTOR EQUIPMENT CORPORATION, B-187159, FEBRUARY 18, 1977, 77-1 CPD 120. FROM THE RECORD, WE FIND THAT THE NAVY'S DECISION WAS REASONABLE.

PROTEST AGAINST THE CANCELLATION IS DENIED. ACCORDINGLY, WE NEED NOT CONSIDER THE PROTEST AGAINST THE PROPOSED AWARD TO AID.

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