Protest spotlight

October 27, 2017 at 11:02 AM

(This occasional feature highlights protests decided by the Government Accountability Office.)

Agency: Navy

Awardee: Leidos

Protester: L3 Unidyne

What GAO found: L3 Unidyne protested the award of a Navy task order to Leidos for operation of the service's towed array facility, arguing the service "misevaluated proposals, unreasonably failed to engage in discussions, and made an unreasonable source selection decision."

The award was made through the SeaPort-E contract vehicle, according to GAO's report. During the evaluation process, L3 was rated unacceptable in the personnel section of its technical capability.

"Because L3 was found not to have submitted a technically acceptable proposal, the agency did not perform a realism evaluation of its proposed cost," GAO wrote. "On the basis of these evaluation results, after finding that Leidos was the only firm to have submitted a technically acceptable proposal, the agency issued a task order to Leidos based on its evaluated cost of $41.4 million."

However, L3 argued in its subsequent protest that the Leidos proposal should have been found unawardable "because Leidos required certain of its proposed new (not yet hired) key employees to enter into binding arbitration agreements as a condition of employment," according to the GAO report.

GAO noted this is barred by a 2010 law and sustained this portion of the protest.

Additionally, GAO backed L3's concerns about the way the Navy assessed a proposed employee as well as L3's staffing profiles.

"We recommend that the agency determine as an initial matter whether the Leidos proposal violates the statutory prohibition against requiring individuals to enter into arbitration agreements as a condition of employment," GAO concluded. "We further recommend that the agency reevaluate proposals in a manner consistent with the discussion above and make a new source selection decision."

If the Navy finds a company other than Leidos should win the award, it should terminate the task order and issue a new one, GAO wrote. Additionally, it recommended L3 be reimbursed the costs associated with the protest.

Read the decision here.