CIO-SP4 protests move toward final decision boonchai wedmakawand

No action appears likely to resolve the 130-plus protests involving this $50 billion IT vehicle, which indicates the Government Accountability Office will decide on the contract's next steps.

Everything points toward full hearings on the objections raised more than 130 protestors regarding the $50 billion CIO-SP4 contract for IT solutions.

A small handful of protests have been dismissed but those were mostly housecleaning actions. Two were dismissed because they were filed too late. Others were dismissed because the protestors didn’t respond to the agency report filed as part of the protest.

It looks like the rest will get full Government Accountability Office decisions sometime during the summer. GAO's protest docket indicates the due dates for decisions range from late June to late August.

It's not clear if GAO has grouped the protests together, which the agency likes to do when multiple protests raise similar issues involving the same contract. Grouping allows GAO to issue a single decision versus multiple decisions.

Each protest of CIO-SP4's small business portion involves the threshold bidders must reach on their self-scoring evaluations. The protestors have complained that the threshold has been set arbitrarily.

The National Institutes of Health's IT Acquisition and Assessment Center has taken at least two corrective actions to address these concerns, but they haven’t been able to satisfy the protesters.

A second common complaint has been that the contract favors small business joint ventures versus independent small businesses.

GAO could group the protests according to the issues raised. It also could group them according to when they were filed, since GAO has a 100-day deadline to reach a decision once a protest is filed.

NITAAC is buying itself time to work through the protests. The agency extended the life of the current CIO-SP3 by another six months. CIO-SP3 is now set to expire on Oct. 29.

If the protests go against NITAAC, it will have to rework the CIO-SP4 solicitation and ask for new proposals. That means NITAAC might have to extend CIO-SP3 again.

We’ve reached out to NITAAC but they have not responded.

Once GAO starts issuing decisions in late June, we should know more about the direction things are going.