DHS gives EAGLE II protesters a second look

Friday - 1/3/2014, 12:04pm EST

The Homeland Security Department is taking a second look at the proposals of all 46 vendors who protested their exclusion from the multi-billion dollar IT services contract known as EAGLE II. The Government Accountability Office sent a note to protesting parties Dec. 23 saying it has dismissed their protest because DHS decided to take "corrective action."

"Specifically, the agency explains that it will reevaluate the [company's] proposal, and if the proposal represents the best value to the agency, DHS will award the firm a contract," GAO wrote in the email, which was obtained by Federal News Radio. "These actions render the protest academic. We do not consider academic protests because to do so would serve no useful public policy purpose."

A DHS spokeswoman said in an email there are no updates on the EAGLE II contract at this time.

DHS awarded 15 companies a spot under EAGLE II's functional category one unrestricted portion of the contract-by-and-large the most competitive and sought after part of the seven- year, $22 billion umbrella of contracts.

After the government shutdown, DHS sent email debriefs to the unsuccessful bidders and 46 filed protests with GAO and another vendor, STG, filed with the Court of Federal Claims.

One industry expert said they weren't surprised DHS decided to reconsider the bids.

"There was one major core performance issue about whether this was a best value procurement that was exercised as lowest-price technically acceptable," said the industry expert, who requested anonymity in order to speak about an ongoing procurement. "DHS in letters to the Hill said it wasn't LPTA, but there is some evidence they had a cutline of $500 million. If that was the case, there are some folks who believe that the protest has legs. If you read the procurement, the RFP says price is less important than technical capabilities, but when you create a price cutline that makes price pretty important."

The source said DHS received between 70 and 80 bids for this functional category.

"Is this an Alliant coming? I'm not sure," the expert said referring to the General Services Administration's decision to let all bidders on the Alliant IT services contract after several protested to GAO in March 2009. "DHS is in a difficult position. They were trying to push a high quality procurement and if protests are successful, then it's a black eye and a big one."

If DHS decides not to let every protestor on to EAGLE II, the unsuccessful bidders could resubmit their protest to GAO, once again delaying the contract.

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