Science Applications International Corp. is protesting a $4.6 billion award to Lockheed Martin to support the Defense Information Systems Network.
The protest was filed June 22 with the Government Accountability Office. GAO will issue a decision on the protest by Oct. 1.
“We are disappointed in the government’s decision to not award us the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Global Information Grid (GIG) Services Management (GSM) contract. We feel our solution is the best value for the customer and we are proud of our performance history on this contract,” SAIC spokeswoman Melissa Koskovich said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin Corp. beat out incumbent SAIC to provide daily operations and sustainment of the Defense Department’s global data network. The contract has a ceiling of $4.6 billion over seven years — three base years and two two-year option years.
SAIC’s current contract was awarded October 2001 and expires Sept. 30. The contract has one six-month option remaining through March 2013.
“We have a strong and agile team, and because of our high technical readiness levels, we feel we are the best choice to ensure secure global communication and information-sharing by providing provisioning, net operations and assurance, and network maintenance services on a worldwide basis, including support of the military’s global information grid. We look forward to working with this key defense customer to resolve this matter,” Koskovich said.
A lot has been made about the 17 percent up-tick in protests handled by the Government Accountability Office last year, but todayÂ GAO released a long-awaited trend report that shows, historically speaking, protest levels are relatively low.
GAO first got the protest authorities we know today in 1984. Since then the number of protests it handles have dropped significantly from 2,240 in 1989 to 1,027 last year. But protests have been inching up since 2001, mirroring the rise in procurement spending, according to the report.
Last year’s rise is primarily due to GAO’s expanded authority to handle protests of task orders worth more than $10 million and protests of competitive sourcing decisions, according to the report.
GAO said that these additional protests haven’t meant delays if they’re without merit. That’s because GAO closes nearly 50 percent of Defense-related protests within 30 days. In addition, while a procurement is under protest, Defense and other agencies can move forward with the buy if the good or service is urgently needed or in the best interests of the country.
Why all the misconceptions about bid protests being out of control? Simple, GAO says:
Last year, a single protested procurement–the Boeing Company’s challenge of the award of a contract by the Air Force to Northrop Grumman for a new fleet of tanker planes–generated unprecedented interest in, and questions about, GAO’s role in deciding these disputes. While we welcome this interest, many of the questions we received, as well as the media accounts of the dispute, reflected a limited understanding of the protest process.