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GAO Details Concerns with Jammer Award

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by layman, Dec 23, 2013.

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  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    GAO and BAE Systems Detail Concerns with Jammer Award
    (Source: Lexington Institute; issued Dec. 20, 2013)


    On December 18, the Government Accountability Office released details of its decision to sustain a protest lodged by BAE Systems concerning a Navy award of the Next Generation Jammer technology-development contract to Raytheon. The GAO release was followed by a statement from BAE Systems that further illuminated circumstances surrounding the award.

    The future jammer program is the single most important development effort likely to be funded in the electronic-attack mission area during this decade, so the two statements deserve close scrutiny from anyone who cares about command of the electromagnetic spectrum in future conflicts.

    In brief, GAO found four problems with the way in which the award was made. First, the Navy source-selection authority failed to evaluate the technical risk of proposals in accordance with the terms of the solicitation. Second, the source-selection authority is said to have ignored evidence of weaknesses in Raytheon's proposal. Third, credit for relevant past experience was not accurately assigned, to the advantage of Raytheon and detriment of BAE Systems. Finally, the Navy is said to have conducted inappropriate discussions with Raytheon subsequent to the submission of proposals.

    These findings are consistent with GAO's past practice of only considering procedural issues in evaluating protests, rather than judging the technical merit of proposals that source-selection authorities are better equipped to assess. In response to the GAO release, BAE Systems issued its own statement containing a key detail about the jammer competition: "BAE Systems' price was significantly lower than the awardee's." This previously undisclosed fact could have a material impact on how the Navy reevaluates jammer proposals as it seeks to respond to the issues raised by GAO's decision. The Navy has sent a letter to all of the offerors -- Northrop Grumman bid on the program too -- stating its intention to make a new sole-source award in January.

    Because the Navy is only reviewing the proposals already submitted, offerors have no opportunity to amend their bids. Thus, a decision to reverse Raytheon's award (if it occurs) would be a tacit admission that the original source selection was flawed. The Next Generation Jammer program is potentially worth more than $10 billion to the winning team over the next two decades, and will play a pivotal role in how the joint force wages tomorrow's wars. With warfighters relying increasingly on non-kinetic technologies to defeat adversaries, the jammer franchise could spawn additional opportunities for the winning contractor.
     
  2. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc
    (Source: Government Accountability Office; issued Dec. 18, 2013)


    Decision: Matter of BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc
    Date: November 13, 2013

    DIGEST

    1. Protest is sustained where the agency failed to reasonably evaluate technical risk in accordance with the terms of the solicitation.

    2. Protest challenging awardee’s technical evaluation is sustained where the documentary record is insufficient to permit meaningful review of the agency’s basis for eliminating multiple risks and weaknesses from the evaluation.

    3. Protest challenging awardee’s corporate experience evaluation is sustained where the agency acknowledges that it improperly credited the awardee with outdated experience.

    4. Although we conclude that the agency improperly distributed post-final proposal submissions from the awardee to its technical evaluators, where the submissions were not made for the purpose of revising the awardee’s proposal, and were not material to the agency’s evaluation of the awardee’s proposal, we conclude that the protester was not prejudiced by the agency’s error.

    DECISION

    BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration, Inc., of Hudson, New Hampshire, protests the award of a contract to Raytheon Company, of Waltham, Massachusetts, by the Department of the Navy, Naval Air Systems Command, under request for proposals (RFP) No. N00019-12-R-0035, for the technology development phase of the Navy’s next generation jammer (NGJ) program.[1]

    We sustain the protest.

    BACKGROUND

    The NGJ program is for the development of an airborne electronic attack platform to replace the Navy’s existing AN/ALQ-99 tactical jamming systems pods on the EA-18 aircraft. Electronic attack is the use of electromagnetic, directed energy, or antiradiation weapons to attack with the intent of degrading, neutralizing, or destroying enemy combat capability.

    The Navy is using an “evolutionary acquisition approach” for the NGJ program. According to this approach, the Navy will pursue its requirements in three increments. Increment 1 relates to mid-band frequency jamming capabilities, while increments 2 and 3 relate to low-band and high-band frequency jamming capabilities, respectively. The increment 1 acquisition approach involves four phases: technology maturation, technology development, engineering and manufacturing development, and production and development.

    The Navy began the program by awarding technology maturation contracts to four firms, including BAE and Raytheon, in July 2010. The technology maturation contracts were later extended and ran for a total of 33 months. Following the technology maturation contracts, the Navy anticipated competitively awarding a single cost-plus incentive-fee contract for the technology development effort, and later making a sole source award to the same contractor for the engineering and manufacturing development effort. A series of contracts for the production and development phase would then follow.

    As stated above, this protest concerns the Navy’s competitive acquisition for the technology development effort. The Navy issued an RFP for the technology development contract on July 10, 2012. As expected, the RFP anticipated a single award.

    The RFP provided that the award would be made on a best-value basis considering four evaluation factors: technical, past performance, corporate experience, and cost. The RFP advised that the technical factor was the most important factor, and that past performance and corporate experience were of equal importance with each being more important than cost. Additionally, the three non-cost evaluation factors, when combined, were significantly more important than cost. (end of excerpt)


    Click here for the full statement (HTML format) on the GAO website.
     
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