Court fight over $60B Veterans Affairs IT vehicle starts taking shape / Douglas Sacha

All protests involving the T4NG2 contract are now a single case at the Court of Federal Claims.

The legal battle involving the Veterans Affairs Department's recompete of its go-to contract vehicle for technology services and solutions is starting to take shape now that a pair of formalities are complete.

Step one: The Government Accountability Office has cleared the docket of protests involving the potential $60 billion Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology NextGen contract vehicle, now that those challenges are at the Court of Federal Claims. The court has greater jurisdiction than GAO to enforce bid protest rulings.

Booz Allen Hamilton, GovCIO and VCH Partners all filed their lawsuits within a week of each other starting June 12 regarding T4NG2 contract, the successor to the current T4NG vehicle that is the VA's flagship for buying IT services and solutions.

GovCIO and Booz Allen went first to GAO with their protests that were dismissed Friday, while VCH Partners went directly to the court with its challenge.

Step two: The judge assigned to all three cases has decided the protestors' arguments are similar enough and ruled on Thursday to consolidate them into a single matter.

Either way, the VA's timeline for proceeding on awards for T4NG2 and opening that vehicle to place orders against is elongated now that the contract has moved to the judicial forum.

VCH Partners and GovCIO are focusing their protests on how the VA is looking at mentor-protege joint ventures, while Booz Allen's complaint remains sealed.

The VA's revised administrative record is due to be filed with the court on or before Friday, while the protestors' motions for judgment on the administrative record are due July 7.

The VA's reply to the protestors' motion for judgment is due July 21, while the protestors' reply to that is due on July 28. Another reply brief from the VA is due Aug. 8.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Aug. 24.