Skip to Highlights
Highlights

Amentum Services, Inc., of Germantown, Maryland, protests the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) award of a contract to PAE Applied Technologies LLC, of Fort Worth, Texas, pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. 80JSC020R0034, to provide operation and maintenance services for the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas. Amentum asserts that the agency failed to properly evaluate offerors' proposals with regard to past performance and mission capability, and failed to conduct meaningful discussions.

We deny the protest.
View Decision

DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted version has been approved for public release.

Decision

Matter of:  Amentum Services, Inc.

File:  B-419998; B-419998.2

Date:  October 22, 2021

Richard B. O’Keeffe, Jr., Esq., Gary S. Ward, Esq., William A. Roberts III, Esq., and Jennifer Eve Retener, Esq., Wiley Rein LLP, for the protester.
Anuj Vohra, Esq., James G. Peyster, Esq., William B. O’Reilly, Esq., and Karla V. Perez Chacon, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP, for PAE Applied Technologies LLC, the intervenor.
Ian F. Rothfuss, Esq., Randall T. Suratt, Esq., and Zareen Iqbal, Esq., National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for the agency.
Glenn G. Wolcott, Esq., and Christina Sklarew, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, GAO, participated in the preparation of the decision.

DIGEST

1.  Agency’s evaluation of proposals under the solicitation’s past performance factor was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.

2.  Agency conducted meaningful discussions with regard to staffing where the agency provided guidance to protester regarding its initially proposed employee-to-manager ratio.

3.  Agency evaluated proposals under the solicitation’s mission suitability factor in a manner that was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.

DECISION

Amentum Services, Inc., of Germantown, Maryland, protests the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) award of a contract to PAE Applied Technologies LLC, of Fort Worth, Texas, pursuant to request for proposals (RFP) No. 80JSC020R0034, to provide operation and maintenance services for the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas.  Amentum asserts that the agency failed to properly evaluate offerors’ proposals with regard to past performance and mission capability, and failed to conduct meaningful discussions. 

We deny the protest.

BACKGROUND

On August 3, 2020, the agency issued the RFP, seeking proposals to provide operation and maintenance services at the JSC.[1]  Agency Record (AR) Tab 6, RFP at 1136‑1951.[2]  The solicitation contemplated the award of a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, cost-reimbursement contract with a 2-year base performance period, a 2-year option period, and a 1-year option period.  Offerors were advised that contract award would reflect the agency’s best-value tradeoff between the following evaluation factors, listed in descending order of importance:  past performance,[3] cost/price, and mission suitability.[4]  RFP at 1159, 1389.

Of relevance to this protest, the solicitation provided that the agency’s past performance evaluation would include consideration of the recency,[5] level of relevance,[6] and the offeror’s performance[7] of prior contracts.  Id. at 1927-28.  Offerors were directed to submit past performance information for up to three prior contracts, id. at 1876; in addition to that information, the solicitation provided that the agency would consider information it “independently obtained from other government and commercial sources, such as the Past Performance Information Retrieval System and similar systems . . . and other sources known to the Government.”  Id. at 1927. 

On or before the September 23, 2020 closing date, initial proposals were submitted by three offerors.  Thereafter, the agency evaluated those proposals; established a competitive range consisting of Amentum and PAE; and conducted discussions with those two offerors.  In its evaluation under the past performance factor, the agency considered offeror-provided information, as well as information drawn from the contractor performance assessment reporting system (CPARS), and information known by the agency’s evaluators. 

In evaluating Amentum’s past performance, the agency identified two operations and maintenance contracts in the CPARS database that Amentum had performed at the U.S. Army Chemical Defense Training Facility (CDTF).  In conducting discussions with Amentum, the agency referenced the CDTF contracts, noting that:  there had been “minor problems” during performance; “corrective actions for these minor problems” had not been provided; and Amentum’s overall performance had been rated satisfactory.  AR, Tab 14, Competitive Range Letters at 6512.  In responding to the agency’s questions, Amentum did not dispute the relevance of the contracts, asserting that it was “standard” for this customer to give only satisfactory ratings when a contractor’s performance either met or exceeded the contract requirements.  See AR, Tab 18 Final SEB Report at 10359. 

The agency’s discussions with Amentum also addressed Amentum’s proposed staffing.  Among other things, the agency:  noted that Amentum’s initial proposal reflected an employee-to-manager ratio of 27 to 1; advised Amentum that this ratio was “unreasonable and increases the risk of ineffective contract performance”; and further advised Amentum that “[i]ndustry surveys indicate ideal employee-to-management ratios vary between 15 to 20 subordinates per manager, while other experts recommend a ratio of 5 to 6 subordinates per manager.”[8]  AR, Tab 14, Competitive Range Letters at 6480‑81, 6490.  Amentum’s final revised proposal reflected a ratio of 14.8 to 1.  AR, Tab 19, Source Selection Statement (SSS) at 10429. 

On April 29, Amentum and PAE submitted their final revised proposals, which the SEB subsequently assessed as follows:

 

Amentum

PAE

Past Performance

High Confidence

High Confidence

Mission Suitability (score/max.)[9]

848/1000

917/1000

  Mgmt. (score/max.)

Good (315/450)

Excellent (428/450)

  Tech.  (score/max.)

Excellent (294/300)

Excellent (282/300)

  Safety/Health (score/max.)

Excellent (147/150)

Excellent (147/150)

  Small Business (score/max.)

Excellent (92/100)

Good (60/100)

Cost/Price

$253.8 Million

$276.5 Million

 


AR, Tab 19, SSS at 10418-19.

Thereafter, the source selection authority (SSA) performed an independent review, analysis, and comparison of the competing proposals. 

With regard to past performance, the SSA noted that both offerors received ratings of high confidence.  In considering Amentum’s proposal, the SSA noted that, overall, Amentum’s past performance was considered very relevant; it had performed “Effectively to Very Effectively on the evaluated contracts”; and it had received performance ratings “ranging between Satisfactory to Excellent, with the Satisfactory ratings being on the least relevant contracts.”  Accordingly, the SSA concluded “I have a High Level of Confidence that Amentum will successfully perform the [contract].”  Id. at 10422-23.  In considering PAE’s proposal, the SSA noted that PAE’s past performance, including its performance of the predecessor JSC contract, was considered very relevant; it had “performed Very Effectively on all the evaluated contracts”; and it had received performance ratings “of  Very Good or Excellent.”  Accordingly, the SSA concluded “I have a High Level of Confidence that PAE will successfully perform the [contract].”  Id. at 10423-24. 

With regard to cost/price, the agency noted that:  there had been no cost/price adjustments to either offeror’s proposal; Amentum’s cost/price was approximately 8 percent lower than PAE’s; and both offerors’ cost/prices were lower than the independent government cost estimate, and were fair and reasonable.  Id. at 10423-28.

With regard to mission suitability, the SSA considered the offerors’ respective staffing approaches, noting that Amentum’s final proposal reflected an employee-to-manager ratio of 14.8 to 1, while PAE proposed a ratio of 10.7 to 1.  The SSA considered both ratios to be acceptable, but viewed Amentum’s proposed ratio to be at the “upper end of the acceptable range,” while PAE’s was “near the lower end.”  Id. at 10422-23.

The SSA then compared the merits of the proposals under each evaluation factor, concluding that PAE’s higher past performance ratings and higher number of contracts considered very relevant[10] “gave PAE an advantage in past performance.”  Id. at 10424.  In this context, the SSA noted that, in performing the predecessor contract, PAE “has done a consistently exceptional job of fulfilling the [contract’s] vast requirements” and “routinely go[es] above and beyond.”  Id. at 10425.  The SSA identified specific examples of PAE’s exceptional prior performance, including its proactive reporting of critical information to JSC officials regarding a problem PAE had encountered on a different non-NASA contract.[11]  Id. at 10424-28.  With regard to the mission suitability factor, the SSA also concluded that “PAE has a slight advantage,” noting its lower employee-to-manager staffing ratio and PAE’s proposal to provide “an upgraded version of their existing PAE Information Exchange (PIE) as their Store Front.”[12]  Id. at 10428‑31.  Overall, the SSA concluded:

Given PAE’s advantage in Past Performance, the most heavily weighted evaluation factor, and combined with its slight overall advantage in Mission Suitability, for the reasons discussed above and considering the evaluation factors for award including cost/price, I determine the additional value PAE offers warrants its slightly higher cost/price.  I, therefore, determine that the

PAE’s proposal is the best value for the Government and I select them for award. 

Id. at 10431.

On June 30, the contract was awarded to PAE.  This protest followed.

DISCUSSION

Amentum protests that the agency improperly evaluated the offerors’ past performance; failed to conduct meaningful discussions with Amentum regarding its proposed staffing; and improperly evaluated the offerors’ proposals under the mission suitability factor.  As discussed below, we find no basis to sustain Amentum’s protest.[13] 

Past Performance

Amentum first challenges the agency’s consideration of the two CDTF contracts the agency identified in CPARS, complaining that the agency “looked high and low, rooting around” in Amentum’s past performance history, and “inexplicably hunted down” contracts that Amentum had not identified in its proposal.[14]  Protest at 1, 23.  Amentum acknowledges that, overall, it received a high confidence past performance rating, and that the agency specifically advised Amentum during discussions that it was considering the CDTF contracts.  Nonetheless, Amentum now challenges the agency’s consideration of those contracts on the basis that they are not relevant.  More specifically, while Amentum does not challenge the agency’s determination that the complexity and content of those contracts was similar to the requirements here, it maintains that they were too small for the agency to consider.[15]  Accordingly, Amentum maintains that the agency’s consideration of the CDTF contracts rendered the agency’s source selection decision invalid.  Id. at 18‑21.

In response to Amentum’s general assertion that the agency improperly considered contracts Amentum chose not to identify in its proposal, the agency notes that the solicitation expressly placed offerors on notice that, in addition to offeror-submitted past performance information, the agency would consider information that it “independently obtained from other government and commercial sources, such as the Past Performance Information Retrieval System and similar systems . . . and other sources known to the Government.”  RFP at 1927.  Consistent with that provision, the agency explains that it conducted a search in CPARS for additional contracts that met the solicitation’s recency and relevance requirements,[16] and that search identified the CDTF contracts. 

In response to Amentum’s assertion that the CDTF contracts should have been considered “irrelevant” based on size alone, see Protest at 21, the agency maintains that the specific provisions of this solicitation placed offerors on notice that the agency would determine the “degree of relevance” of a prior contract, and that the agency would consider all three elements (content, complexity, and size) in making that determination.  More specifically, the agency notes that the terms of this solicitation provided that, to be excluded from consideration as “not relevant,” the prior effort must have “involved little or none of the content, complexity, and size of effort this solicitation requires.”  RFP at 1928.  (Emphasis added.)  Accordingly, the agency maintains that the terms of this solicitation placed offerors on notice that the agency would make a “holistic assessment of each contract,” and would only exclude from consideration recent contracts that contained “little or none” of all three elements.[17]  Memorandum of Law, Aug. 18, 2021, at 13.  Accordingly, the agency maintains that its consideration of contracts other than those identified by Amentum in its proposal generally, and its consideration of the CDFT contracts specifically, was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.[18] 

An agency’s evaluation of past performance, including the determination of relevance, is a matter of agency discretion, which we will not question unless it is contrary to the terms of the solicitation.  National Beef Packing Co., B‑296534, Sept. 1, 2005, 2005 CPD ¶ 168 at 4.  In considering the meaning of a solicitation’s terms, we will look to the solicitation’s plain language as well as consider that language in the context of other solicitation provisions.  See, e.g., Manhattan Telecomm. Corp., B-418818, Sept. 17, 2020, 2021 CPD ¶ 185 at 4-5; ZolonTech, Inc., B-418213, B-418213.2, Jan. 23, 2020, 2020 CPD ¶ 57 at 8; Crew Training Int’l, Inc., B‑414126, Feb. 7, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 53 at 4.

Here, we first reject Amentum’s assertion that the agency’s past performance evaluation improperly included consideration of prior contracts other than those identified in the offerors’ proposals.  As discussed above, the solicitation expressly advised offerors that the agency intended to consider information it “independently obtained from other government and commercial sources, such as the Past Performance Information Retrieval System and similar systems . . . and other sources known to the Government.”  RFP at 1927. 

We also reject Amentum’s assertion that the agency improperly considered Amentum’s performance of the CDTF contracts in its past performance evaluation.  As discussed above, the solicitation specifically identified four “degrees of relevance” for prior contracts:  very relevant, relevant, somewhat relevant, and not relevant.  In defining each of these terms, the solicitation specifically provided for consideration of all three elements:  content, complexity, and size.  More specifically, the solicitation provided that, to be excluded from consideration for lack of relevance, a prior recent contract must have involved “little or none” of the content, complexity, and size of the contract at issue here.  Accordingly, based on the provisions of this solicitation, we reject Amentum’s protest challenging the agency’s consideration of additional contracts generally and the CDTF contracts specifically; Amentum’s protest challenging these aspects of the agency’s past performance evaluation is denied. 

Amentum further challenges the agency’s past performance evaluation with regard to PAE’s proposal.  Specifically, Amentum complains that it was improper for the SSA to have “found value to the Government in PAE’s proactive approach” to safety.[19]  Protest at 23; see AR, Tab 19, SSS at 10427.  Amentum asserts that, because the terms of the predecessor JSC contract required that PAE notify NASA about known risks, the agency’s characterization of PAE’s actions as “proactive,” and its positive assessment in that regard, was “unfounded,” “unreasonable,” and “cannot stand.”  Protest at 23. 

The agency responds that, while PAE was required under the prior JSC contract to “report all hazards after identifying them,” at the time PAE reported the incident on its non-NASA contract, no such hazard had been determined to exist in the similar fire suppression systems at JSC.  Contracting Officer’s Statement, Aug. 18, 2021, at 17.  Indeed, it was only after PAE’s report to NASA that the agency’s investigation revealed a similar risk in one of JSC’s fire suppression systems.  Id.  Accordingly, the agency maintains that it was reasonable and proper to credit PAE with a “proactive approach” to safety. 

As noted above, an agency’s evaluation of past performance, including its judgments regarding the significance of a firm’s prior performance, is a matter of agency discretion which we will not disturb unless the agency’s assessments are unreasonable or inconsistent with the solicitation criteria.  See, e.g., Paragon Sys., Inc., B‑414515, B‑414515.2, June 29, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 240 at 9.  Where a protester challenges an agency’s past performance evaluation, our Office will review the evaluation to determine if it was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria and procurement statutes and regulations.  Id.

Based on our review of the record here, we reject Amentum’s assertion that the SSA’s positive consideration of PAE’s past performance with regard to safety concerns was “unfounded” or “unreasonable.”  To the contrary, based on our review of the record it was entirely reasonable for the agency to consider PAE’s identification of an incident that had occurred on a different contract involving systems similar to those employed at JSC.  As the agency points out, it was only after PAE reported the matter to NASA, that the agency’s investigation identified a similar hazard on one of the JSC systems.  On this record, we find nothing unreasonable in the agency’s positive assessment regarding PAE’s proactive approach in this matter.  Accordingly, Amentum’s protest in this regard is denied. 

Meaningful Discussions

Next, Amentum challenges the agency’s evaluation process with regard to staffing.  In this context, Amentum asserts that, during discussions, Amentum “had resolved all concerns regarding its proposed staffing resources” and, accordingly, the SSA “could not resurrect any concerns in that area without first reopening discussions.”  Protest at 24-27.  More specifically, Amentum complains that, because its final revised proposal reflected an acceptable employee-to-manager ratio, the agency was precluded from considering PAE’s lower proposed ratio as a discriminator between proposals without reopening discussions and allowing Amentum to further revise its proposal.  Id. 

The agency responds, as discussed above, that the agency’s evaluation of Amentum’s initial proposal identified a flaw in that Amentum proposed “an average 27 to 1 employee-to-manager ratio”; accordingly, during the first round of discussions, the agency advised Amentum that this staffing ratio was “too high for effective contract performance.”[20]  See AR, Tab 14, Competitive Range Letters at 6480‑81, 6490.  The agency further states that Amentum subsequently represented it would lower its proposed ratio to 15.8 to 1--and the agency advised Amentum, during a second round of discussions, that this ratio was “still slightly too high for effective contract performance management.”  See AR Tab 15, Discussion Questions/Responses at 6712.  Finally, the agency states that, in its final revised proposal, Amentum proposed an employee-to-manager ratio of 14.8 to 1, which the agency viewed as acceptable.  See AR, Tab 19, SSS at 10429.  On this record, the agency maintains that its discussions were more than adequate. 

When conducting discussions with offerors, agencies must identify, at a minimum, “deficiencies, significant weaknesses, and adverse past performance information to which the offeror has not yet had an opportunity to respond.”  Federal Acquisition Regulations 15.306(d)(3).  Nonetheless, agencies are not required to:  discuss every element of a technically acceptable proposal that receives less than the maximum possible score; identify discriminators between proposals; or afford an offeror multiple opportunities to cure a weakness remaining in a proposal that previously was the subject of discussions.  Centerra Grp., LLC, B-414768.2, Sept. 11, 2017, 2017 CPD ¶ 274 at 6; JAM Corp., B-408775, Dec. 4, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ 282 at 6; Bioqual, Inc., B‑259732.2., B‑259732.3, May 15, 1995, 95-1 CPD ¶ 243 at 4‑5.

Here, based on our review of the record, we reject Amentum’s allegations that the agency’s discussions were less than meaningful.  To the contrary, the record clearly establishes that the agency identified the flaw in Amentum’s initial proposal regarding its  proposed employee-to-manager ratio of 27 to 1; subsequently advised Amentum that a ratio of 15.8 to 1 was “still slightly high”; and ultimately, determined that the 14.8 to 1 ratio Amentum offered in its final revised proposal was acceptable.  The record is also clear that the SSA did not revise the agency’s evaluation; rather, in her source selection decision the SSA compared PAE’s lower proposed employee-to-manager ratio of 10.7 to 1 to Amentum’s ratio of 14.8 to 1, concluding that PAE’s proposed staffing was superior.  On this record, Amentum’s assertion that the agency’s discussions were less than meaningful and/or that the agency had an obligation to conduct yet another round of discussions, is without merit; Amentum’s protest in this regard is denied.

Mission Suitability

Finally, Amentum complains that the agency’s evaluation of each offeror’s proposed “store front” system under the mission suitability factor reflected unequal treatment.[21] Protest at 27-31.  More specifically, Amentum complains that the agency improperly assigned greater value to PAE’s proposed system (referred to as an upgraded version of PAE’s information exchange or “PIE+”), maintaining that Amentum’s proposed system (referred to as its integrated data management system or “IDMS”) was “comparable.”  Protest at 27-31. 

The agency responds that both offerors’ proposed store front systems were viewed as offering value to the agency.  However, PAE’s proposal contained a detailed explanation regarding how its proposed system would meet the solicitation’s requirements reflected in the most-important evaluation subfactor, management approach.[22]  See AR, Tab 11.2, PAE Proposal at 5222-26.  In contrast, while Amentum’s proposal mentioned compliance with the management approach requirements, Amentum chose to describe its system’s capabilities in the context of the less-important technical approach subfactor.  See, AR, Tab 11.1, Amentum Proposal at 3910-29.  Accordingly, the agency maintains that, while it viewed each of the proposed systems as offering value, PAE’s detailed description of how its proposed system would address the solicitation’s more-important requirements had greater value. The agency adds that, since Amentum’s proposal did not address in any significant detail how its proposed system would meet the more important management requirements, it would have been improper for the agency to impute undescribed capabilities to Amentum’s proposal.  Accordingly, the agency maintains that its evaluation of the offerors’ proposed store front systems was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation. 

It is well-established that the evaluation of proposals is a matter within the discretion of the contracting agency, and an offeror’s disagreement with an agency’s judgment, without more, is insufficient to establish that the agency acted unreasonably.  Vectrus Sys. Corp., B‑412581.3 et al., Dec. 21, 2016, 2017 CPD ¶ 10 at 3.  Further, it is an offeror’s responsibility to submit a well-written proposal, with adequately detailed information which clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation requirements and allows a meaningful review by the procuring agency; agencies are not required to infer information that an offeror elected not to provide.  CACI Techs., Inc., B‑296946, Oct. 27, 2005, 2005 CPD ¶ 198 at 5; James Constr., B-402429, Apr. 21, 2010, 2010 CPD ¶ 98 at 5.  Finally, where a protester alleges unequal treatment in an evaluation, we will review the record to determine whether the differences in ratings reasonably stem from differences in the proposals.  Exelis Sys. Corp., B-407111 et al., Nov. 13, 2012, 2012 CPD ¶ 340 at 20-21.

Here, based on our review of the record, we find no basis to question the agency’s mission suitability evaluation with regard to the offerors’ respective store front systems.  Specifically, the record shows that PAE’s proposal described in detail the benefits that its proposed system would provide with regard to the solicitation’s more-important management approach requirements.  In contrast, Amentum’s proposal focused on the benefits its proposed system would provide with regard to the solicitation’s less-important technical approach requirements.  Since Amentum chose to primarily address the less-important requirements, and did not meaningfully discuss its capability to meet the more heavily weighted requirements, we conclude that the agency’s evaluation in this area reflects a difference in the proposals, rather than unequal treatment.  Accordingly, Amentum’s protest challenging this aspect of the agency’s evaluation and source selection decision is denied. 

The protest is denied.

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
General Counsel

 

[1]  This procurement is a follow-on to a contract currently being performed by PAE, and includes the following services:  providing support for facility operation, management, maintenance/repair/construction, and engineering. 

[2] Page citations to AR documents refer to the agency-provided Bates numbers. 

[3] In evaluating past performance, the solicitation provided that the agency would assign confidence ratings of:  very high, high, moderate, low, very low, or neutral.  RFP at 1927-30. 

[4] The solicitation established four subfactors under the mission suitability factor, and identified maximum point scores reflecting their relative importance as follows:  management approach (450 points); technical approach (300 points); safety/health approach (150 points); and small business utilization (100 points).  RFP at 1932-35.  In evaluating proposals under the mission suitability subfactors, the agency assigned point scores and corresponding adjectival ratings of excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor; the agency did not assign overall adjectival ratings for mission suitability.  AR, Tab 12, Initial Source Evaluation Board (SEB) Report at 6192, 6203; Tab 18, Final SEB Report at 10217. 

[5] The solicitation defined recent contracts as those performed during the three years prior to issuance of this solicitation.  RFP at 1927.  Recency of prior contracts is not at issue in this protest.

[6] The solicitation advised offerors that the agency would assess the “degree of relevance” of a prior contract based on its content (that is, “scope of services, work, requirements, or supplies”), complexity, and size in comparison to the current solicitation requirements, and would assign ratings of very relevant, relevant, somewhat relevant, or not relevant to an offeror’s recent contracts.  Id. at 1927‑28.  More specifically, the solicitation defined:  a “very relevant” prior contract as one that involved “essentially the same” content, complexity, and size as contemplated here; a “relevant” prior contract as one that involved “much” of the same content, complexity, and size; a “somewhat relevant” prior contract as one that involved “some” of the same content, complexity, and size; and a “not relevant” contract as one that involved “little or none” of the same content, complexity and size.  Id. at 1928. 

[7] In evaluating an offeror’s prior performance of recent/relevant contracts, the solicitation provided that the agency would consider “quality, schedule adherence, cost control, small business subcontracting and safety.”  Id.

[8] In conducting discussions with PAE, the agency similarly noted that PAE’s initially‑proposed employee-to-manager ratio of approximately 14-1 was slightly high.  AR, Tab 14, Competitive Range Letters at 6518.

[9] As noted above, the mission suitability subfactors were point-scored and assigned adjectival ratings; the agency did not assign overall adjectival ratings for mission suitability.  Id. at 10415.

[10] PAE’s past performance reflected four very relevant contracts, while Amentum’s reflected two very relevant contracts.  AR, Tab 18, Final SEB Report at 10284, 10295.

[11] Specifically, during its performance of the predecessor JSC contract, PAE alerted the agency to an incident that occurred on a different contract that had been caused by another contractor’s improper installation of a fire suppression system.  Based on PAE’s report, the agency investigated similar systems in use at JSC; identified one of the JSC systems with a similar problem; and took appropriate action to prevent a similar incident.  AR, Tab 19, SSS at 10426‑28; Tab 18, Final SEB Report at 10293. 

[12] The solicitation required offerors to propose a web-based management information system that is referred to as a “Store Front.”  See RFP at 1376.

[13] Amentum’s protest includes allegations that are in addition to, or variations of, those specifically discussed below.  We have reviewed all of the allegations and find no basis to sustain the protest.

[14] In its various protest submissions, Amentum expressly or implicitly maintains that the agency’s evaluation procedures and/or source selection judgments reflected bad faith by agency officials.  Government officials are presumed to act in good faith, and a contention that procurement officials are motivated by bias or bad faith must be supported by convincing proof.  See, e.g., Lawson Envtl. Servs., LLC, B‑416892, B‑416892.2, Jan. 8, 2019, 2019 CPD ¶ 17 at 5 n.5.  Here, to the extent Amentum alleges bad faith, those allegations are not supported by any meaningful evidence and, accordingly, are dismissed.  4 C.F.R. § 21.5(f).

[15] Amentum asserts that the CDTF contracts had an “average annual . . . value of about $3 million,” while the annual value of this procurement is “about $50.5 million.”  Protest at 21.

[16] The agency states that, following submission of initial proposals, the agency conducted a search of the CPARS database using the commercial and government entity (CAGE) codes and data universal numbering system (DUNS) numbers provided by each offeror.  Contracting Officer’s Statement, Aug. 18, 2021, at 5, 14-16.

[17] Consistent with the solicitation’s provisions regarding “degree of relevance,” the agency notes that the SSA described the CDTF contracts as “the least relevant.”  See AR, Tab 19, SSS at 1423.

[18] The agency also notes that, in responding to the agency’s discussion questions regarding the CDTF contracts, Amentum did not suggest that consideration of the contracts was improper; instead, Amentum responded that a performance rating of satisfactory was “standard” for the CDTF contracts when a contractor either met or exceeded the solicitation requirements. 

[19] As discussed above, during its performance of the predecessor JSC contract, PAE alerted the agency to an incident that had occurred on a different, non-NASA contract, which had been caused by another contractor’s improper installation of a fire suppression system.  Based on PAE’s report, the agency investigated similar systems at JSC; identified one of the JSC systems with a similar problem; and took appropriate action.  See AR, Tab 19, SSS at 1426‑28; Tab 18, Final SEB Report at 10293.

[20] The agency’s discussions further advised Amentum that “[i]ndustry surveys indicate ideal employee to management ratios vary between 15 to 20 subordinates per manager, while other experts recommend a ratio of 5 to 6 subordinates per manager.”  See AR, Tab 14, Competitive Range Letters at 6480-81. 

[21] As noted above, the solicitation required offerors to propose a web-based management information system that is referred to as a “Store Front.”  See RFP at 1376.

[22] As noted above, the solicitation established four mission suitability subfactors, listed in descending order of importance:  management approach; technical approach; safety/health approach; and small business utilization. 

Downloads

GAO Contacts