NGA withdraws award on cusp of protest decision Ilya Burdun

Deloitte challenged the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's choice of Kearney for an audit contract that NGA will take a second look at.

On the cusp of a post-award protest decision, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has withdrawn its award of an audit management and support services contract to Kearney & Co. for a re-evaluation.

Deloitte argued that Kearney had an organizational conflict-of-interest that NGA failed to consider. Deloitte also said that Kearney’s proposal was misevaluated because the latter quoted services that were beyond the scope of the labor categories submitted in its bid.

NGA has told the Government Accountability Office it has pulled back the award to Kearney for the corrective action, so GAO dismissed Deloitte’s protest as moot. There was no longer an award to protest.

What also makes this interesting is the timing. Deloitte filed its protest Oct. 10 and a decision by GAO was expected by Thursday (today). GAO’s docket lists the dismissal as being done on Tuesday.

That tells us that NGA informed GAO of the corrective action within days of a final decision. Chances are NGA had a strong feeling that GAO was going to sustain the protest.

Rather than be subject to GAO’s recommendations, NGA took some control back and went with its own corrective action.

Granted, NGA might be doing exactly what GAO would have recommended or it could be a variation. Before GAO accepts a corrective action, they verify if the move addresses the issues raised in the protest. NGA is at least doing that.

Now we’ll have to see whether the corrective action satisfies Deloitte or Kearney. It likely won’t satisfy both.

Meanwhile, a separate protest on the same contract by Guidehouse is still active at GAO. Different issues have been raised in that protest.

Guidehouse is challenging NGA’s determination that the company failed to submit a volume of its final proposal on time. NGA said that was “untimely" and declared Guidehouse ineligible.

That decision is expected by Feb. 5.