Thursday, March 15, 2018

What Does It Mean to "Abandon Your Protest"?

In a bid protest situation, if you don't respond to the arguments raised by an agency, you might be declared to have abandoned your protest.

The Air Force issued a solicitation for launch operations and infrastructure support services at Cape Canaveral. The resulting contract was awarded to ASRC Communications. One of the other bidders, Yang Enterprises protested the award, arguing that the Air Force "misevaluated" its proposal and therefore mad an unreasonable source selection decision.

The Air Force provided a detailed report responding to Yang's protest including documentation of its cost realism evaluation of the ultimate winning proposal. In response to this report, Yang wrote:
Protester has carefully reviewed the Agency Report. It is Protester's position that the Report, and supporting documentation, do not contain sufficient analysis of the relation of the technical portions of ASRC's proposal (the winning bidder) to the cost analysis to justify the conclusion that the cost realism analysis performed by the Air Force was thorough, complete and accurate. For that reason, Protester continues to maintain the position set forth in its protest to your Office and requests the relief set forth therein.
What is wrong with that response? Yang did not rebut - or even respond to - the Air Force's procedural arguments. In responding to an agency report, protesters are required to provide a substantive response to the arguments advanced by the agency. Where a protester merely references earlier arguments advanced in an initial protest without providing a substantive response to the agency's position, the GAO will dismiss the referenced allegations as abandoned. Similarly, a protester's statement, without elaboration, that its initial arguments are maintained also will result in the dismissal of the arguments as abandoned.

The GAO noted that Yang's failure to respond to the Air Force's arguments led it to question the legal sufficiency of its filing. Under the circumstances, the GAO concluded that Yang had abandoned its protest and therefore dismissed the protest without considering the merits of its arguments.

Click here to read the full GAO decision.

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