​Update: Protest of VA Mobile Infrastructure Services (MIS) RTEP

Department of Veterans Affairs—Reconsideration, B-412187.2: Apr 4, 2017

DECISION – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requests that we reconsider our decision in ASM Research, B-412187, Jan. 7, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 38, in which we sustained the protest filed by ASM Research, of Fairfax, Virginia, which challenged the VA’s issuance of a task order to Booz Allen Hamilton, of McLean, Virginia, under request for task execution plans (RTEP) No. T4-0671, for operation and maintenance support of computer cloud environments. The VA argues that our decision, which concluded that the agency failed to meaningfully consider whether the award to Booz Allen was tainted by organizational conflicts of interest (OCI), contained errors of law and fact that warrant reconsideration of our decision.

We deny the request for reconsideration.

BACKGROUND – The VA issued the RTEP for mobile infrastructure services (MIS) to contract holders under the Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract. ASM Research, supra, at 1-2. The MIS contractor will be responsible for hosting and maintenance of the infrastructure, platforms, and tools that house the development, testing, and production environments for mobile software applications (apps). MIS Performance Work Statement (PWS) § 1.0. Currently, the MIS platform hosts four enclaves[1] relating to apps; the one pertinent to this protest is the Mobile Application Environment (MAE) for web and mobile app development. Id. The MAE includes six environments “to create, test, and deploy VA mobile applications,” which include: development integration; software quality assurance (SQA); verification and validation (V&V); performance; maintenance; and continuous integration. See id. § 5.5.1.

Only ASM and Booz Allen submitted proposals in response to the RTEP. ASM Research, supra, at 1-2. The agency issued the MIS task order to Booz Allen on September 14, 2015, and ASM filed its protest (B-412187) on September 29. Of importance to the protest and this request for reconsideration, prior to the issuance of the MIS RTEP and task order, the agency awarded two task orders under the same ID/IQ contract to Booz Allen. Id.at 3. One of the task orders was for SQA services and the other for V&V services. Id.

As relevant here, ASM’s protest argued that Booz Allen had an unmitigable OCI because the PWS for the MIS task order would require the awardee to support the development of applications, and the SQA task order would require Booz Allen to evaluate its own work by performing quality assurance testing of the mobile apps developed under the MIS task order.[2] ASM Research, supra, at 4. The agency primarily argued that there…”


G2X TAKE: There are many reasons why you don’t see more protests on the VA T4NG IDIQ, a primary one being that the TAC seldom loses. The recent challenge of this GAO decision related to the hosting and maintenance of the infrastructure that houses the development, testing, and production environments for mobile software apps, is the rare exception.

This recent GAO decision rebuffing VA’s request for a reconsideration is worth a read as it provides some insight into how the VA and GAO view OCI in this instance and how it might inform future task award decisions made by the TAC, as well as bid/no-bid decisions made by prime bidders. 

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