In February 2024, GAO continued its streak of taking a hard look at procurements conducted under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 8.4.  Subpart 8.4 allows the government to use “simplified” ordering procedures to obtain commercial supplies and services.  However, some agencies have apparently adopted the position that “anything goes” in these simplified procurements.  Not so!  Over the past year, GAO has issued a series of decisions emphasizing that, although this process is supposed to be simplified, it is not intended to be lawless.  (Check out our discussion of the Washington Business Dynamics, LLC, decision in December’s Sustain of the Month post.)  This welcome trend has continued into 2024, with GAO’s issuance of a sustain decision in LOGMET LLC, B-422200, Feb. 21, 2024. Continue Reading February 2024 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

Though not the first sustain of 2024 (click here for our writeup of 2024’s first sustain), GAO’s decision in American Material Handling, Inc. provides an informative discussion of the level of scrutiny agencies face when conducting “brand name or equal” procurements.  In American Material, the International Boundary and Water Commission sought a contractor to provide a brand name or equal “Caterpillar 980 wheel loader.”  The requirement was competed among Federal Supply Schedule holders under FAR subpart 8.4.  The request for quotations (RFQ) included a two-page specification sheet identifying the salient characteristics of the wheel loader equipment and stated that award would be made on a lowest price, techncally acceptable basis.  Two vendors responded to the RFQ – Caterpillar offered its own brand name equipment and American Material offered a Volvo L220H wheel loader.  After receiving quotations, the agency added several additional salient characteristics to the technical evaluation form, then concluded that American Material’s equipment did not meet these new characteristics.  Thus, although American Material offered the lower price, the agency awarded to Caterpillar because American Material’s equipment was evaluated as technically unacceptable for failing to meet the newly added requirements.   Continue Reading January 2024 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

The following is the final installment in Crowell & Moring’s 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month Series.  All through 2023, Crowell’s Government Contracts Practice kept you up to date with a summary of the most notable bid protest sustain decision each month.  Below, we cap off 2023 with an excellent GAO decision that provides guidance about the standards an agency must satisfy when conducting procurements under FAR subpart 8.4 and an in-depth discussion of interested party status for companies that are graduating from small business programs.Continue Reading December Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

The following is an installment in Crowell & Moring’s 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month Series.  All through 2023, Crowell’s Government Contracts Practice will keep you up to date with a summary of the most notable bid protest sustain decision each month.  Below, Crowell Partner Cherie Owen discusses RELX Inc., B-421597.2, Nov. 17, 2023, in which GAO considered an agency’s issuance of a brand-name-or-equal task order.Continue Reading November Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

The following is an installment in Crowell & Moring’s 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month Series.  All through 2023, Crowell’s Government Contracts Practice will keep you up to date with a summary of the most notable bid protest sustain decision each month.  Below, Crowell Partner Cherie Owen discusses several protest decisions issued in October that provide helpful insights about the GAO protest process.Continue Reading October Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

On October 30, 2023, President Biden released an Executive Order (EO) on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  This landmark EO seeks to advance the safe and secure development and deployment of AI by implementing a society-wide effort across government, the private sector, academia, and civil society to harness “AI for good,” while mitigating its substantial risks.Continue Reading Biden’s Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence

The following is an installment in Crowell & Moring’s 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month Series.  All through 2023, Crowell’s Government Contracts Practice will keep you up to date with a summary of the most notable bid protest sustain decision each month.  Below, Crowell Partner Cherie Owen discusses GAO’s decision in Mandex, Inc., involving organizational conflicts of interest (OCIs).Continue Reading August 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

The following is an installment in Crowell & Moring’s 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month Series.  All through 2023, Crowell’s Government Contracts Practice will keep you up to date with a summary of the most notable bid protest sustain decision each month.  Below, Crowell Partner Cherie Owen discusses MPZA, LLC, B-421568, B-421568.2, July 3, 2023, 2023 CPD ¶ 165, in which GAO discussed the amount of documentation needed to support an agency’s price analysis. Continue Reading July 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

The following is an installment in Crowell & Moring’s 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month Series.  All through 2023, Crowell’s Government Contracts Practice will keep you up to date with a summary of the most notable bid protest sustain decision each month.  Below, Crowell Partner Cherie Owen discusses Kupono Gov’t Servs., LLC; Akima Sys. Eng’g, LLC, in which GAO sustained a challenge to an agency’s corrective action.   

June 2023 may go down in history as the month with the highest sustain rate in GAO’s history – if GAO published monthly sustain rate data, that is.  Although GAO issued a handful of sustained decisions, one of those decisions is likely to drive GAO’s “sustain rate” statistic through the roof this year: Systems Plus, Inc. et al., which sustained 98 protests and supplemental protests related to the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP4) procurement.  (In July, GAO issued another decision sustaining 28 additional protests and supplemental protests relating to the same procurement.)  While GAO’s CIO-SP4 decisions were interesting, they may have allowed an even more impactful sustain decision to slip under the radar. Continue Reading June 2023 Bid Protest Sustain of the Month

On June 18, 2023, the Biden-Harris administration announced the launch of a new “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” program (hereinafter the “Program”). First proposed by Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the Program aims to increase transparency and competition across the smart devices sector and to assist consumers in making informed decisions about the security of the devices they purchase. Continue Reading Biden Admin Eyes IoT Cyber Practices