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A firm protested the Army's rejection of its bid for interactive courseware, contending that the Army improperly adjusted the bids to conform to the government estimate. The Army contended that the protester was not sufficiently interested to protest, since it would not be in line for award even if its protest were upheld. GAO held that the: (1) protester was sufficiently interested to challenge the Army's evaluation, since it could be in line for award after a proper evaluation; (2) Army evaluation did not satisfy the requirement for an independent analysis of each bidder's proposed costs; and (3) Army improperly adjusted the bidders' cost proposals to conform to its estimate, instead of conducting discussions to determine the actual lowest cost to the government. Accordingly, the protest was sustained, and GAO recommended that: (1) the Army open cost negotiations with all bidders in the competitive range and then determine cost realism after the discussions; and (2) if the Army concluded that a bidder other than the awardee should receive the award, it should terminate the contract and make award, as appropriate.

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