In recent years, the Pentagon’s top acquisition officials have lauded the concept of “best value” as a way of selecting the contractors who will supply combat systems and services. Simply stated, best value allows contracting personnel to pay more for a proposal when it offers a superior solution. Just being the “lowest-price, technically-acceptable” offeror isn’t enough. But there’s a problem with best value: it can give source-selection authorities too much latitude to deviate from the rules set forth in solicitations. Offerors who prepared their proposals according to what they thought the selection criteria would be find themselves losing to companies that bid higher — even if their proposal meet all government requirements. That is precisely what General Dynamics is alleging in a protest of the Marine Corps decision to select SAIC as one of the two companies that will develop prototypes of its future Amphibious Combat Vehicle. The company says if the Marine Corps had made clear up front what the selection criteria would be, it would have submitted a different proposal. In other words, GD was treated unfairly — the main reason the Government Accountability Office sustains protests. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: