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Update: CIO-SP4 protest activity

Updated May 5, 2022

G2X TAKE: Just when it seemed to be ending, a fresh protest has been levied by Precise Federal Consulting related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for the ordering of IT solutions and services. 

While we have no confirmed details as to the grounds for this latest action, this news article may shed some light. 

The listed due date for a decision is no later than August 10, 2022. 

Details on the prior sequence of actions is available in the thread below. 


Updated May 2, 2022 

G2X TAKE: The last known protest – that levied by Octo – related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for the ordering of IT solutions and services has now been dismissed.  

No details have been provided as to the grounds for the challenge at this time, nor the reason for the dismissal.  

Please note that a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and oftentimes only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process.  

Details on the prior sequence of actions are available in the thread below. 


Updated April 27, 2022

G2X TAKE: One of the recently filed protests – that levied by Hendall – related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for the ordering of IT solutions and services has now been dismissed. 

No details have been provided as to the grounds for the challenge at this time, nor the reason for the dismissal. 

Please note that a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and oftentimes only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process. 

Details on the prior sequence of actions are available in the thread below. 


Updated March 24, 2022 

G2X TAKE: Following the withdrawal of what appeared to be the last remaining protest, two new protests have been filed – by Octo and Hendall – related to this GWAC intended to provide Federal agencies with a mechanism for the ordering of IT solutions and services. 

No details are available at this time for the grounds for this protest but a look at the back and forth, and the many amendments, may shine some light. The listed due date for a decision in each case is no later than June 29, 2022.


Updated March 21, 2022 

G2X TAKE: We will confess it has been a challenge following the back and forth related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for ordering of IT solutions and services, but it now appears the final outstanding protest by Summit Technologies has been withdrawn. 

No additional details are available at this time. 

With CIO-SP3 set to expire this Fall, to be replaced with awards under CIO-SP4, whether the dust has completely settled here remains to be seen. 

Details on prior actions are available in the thread below. 


Updated February 18, 2022 

G2X TAKE: This will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone after the trials and tribulations, starts and restarts, even over the past few weeks, but here we note a fresh protest related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices. 

No details are available as to the grounds for this latest action by Summit Technologies but one need only look at some of the comments posted in the Forum here to guess at possibilities.

The listed due date for a decision here is no later than May 23, 2022 but as always, additional details will be shared as they are made available. 


Updated December 1, 2021 

“DIGEST – 1. Protest challenging a solicitation that limits the number of experience examples that may be submitted by a large business mentor in a mentor-protégé joint venture is sustained where, although the solicitation provision is not expressly prohibited by small business laws or regulations, the agency does not establish that the restriction is reasonable, and where the agency does not reasonably explain why mentor-protégé joint ventures with small business mentors are treated differently. 2. Protest that a solicitation provides for an improper responsibility determination based on the experience of a protégé member of a mentor-protégé joint venture is denied where the agency states that it does not intend to make such a determination, and where, in any event, the agency is not prohibited from making such a determination. 3. Protests that evaluation criteria for experience and past performance improperly require offerors to submit information regarding the obligated value of contracts performed, rather than the awarded value, is denied where the agency reasonably explains that the former metric provides more relevant information.” 

“DISCUSSION Our decision addresses three primary arguments raised by the protesters. First, CWS FMTI argues that the solicitation’s self-scoring evaluation criteria for experience are unduly restrictive of competition and inconsistent with the Small Business Act and regulations issued by SBA. Specifically, CWS FMTI contends that the solicitation improperly limits offerors who compete as a mentor-protégé joint venture, where a large business is the mentor firm, to using the experience of the large business mentor for no more than two of the three possible experience examples for each area of experience. Second, CWS FMTI argues that the agency’s response to the first protest argument shows that the agency will make an improper responsibility determination for mentorprotégé joint venture offerors based on the experience of the small business protégé member. Third, CWS and CWS FMTI argue that the solicitation is unduly restrictive of competition because the evaluation criteria for experience and past performance require offerors to identify the value of contracts performed based on the obligated value, rather than the awarded value of the contracts. For the reasons discussed below, we sustain the first argument concerning the limitations on the number of examples of experience that large business mentors may submit in mentor-protégé joint ventures, but deny all other protest arguments….” 

“We do conclude, however, that the limitations are unduly restrictive of competition. As in Ekagra, even though we conclude that the limitations are not specifically barred by 13 C.F.R. § 125.8(e), we still must examine whether the limitations are reasonable, that is, whether the provisions are reasonably necessary to meet the agency’s needs. See Remote Diagnostic Techs., LLC, supra; Coulson Aviation (USA), Inc., supra. We find that NIH’s rationale for the limitations on the experience that may be submitted by a large business mentor relies on requirements found in the solicitation in Ekagra that are not present in the RFP here….” 

“Because the solicitation here does not require a protégé to submit any experience, we conclude that NIH has not reasonably justified the limitations on the amount of experience that a large business mentor may submit. We therefore sustain the protest on this basis…” 

“DECISION – Computer World Services Corporation (CWS), of Falls Church, Virginia, and CWS FMTI JV LLC (CWS FMTI), a mentor-protégé joint venture small business1, of Luray, Virginia, challenge the terms of solicitation No. 75N98121R00001, which was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the award of multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) for information technology services, known as Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP4). CWS FMTI argues that the request for proposals (RFP) is unduly restrictive of competition because it limits the number of experience examples that mentor-protégé joint venture offerors may submit from large business mentors, and that the agency intends to make an improper responsibility determination based on the experience of small business offerors. Both protesters also allege that the RFP is unduly restrictive of competition with regard to the basis for measuring the value of contracts performed for the experience and past performance factors. We sustain CWS FMTI’s protest in part, and deny the remaining protest grounds.” 

Read the full 19-page decision here. 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, here we note the protest by Computer World Services Corporation sustained. 


Updated November 24, 2021 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, here we note two protests – by International Global Solution and Definitive Infotech Services & Solutions – denied and the decision on both released. 

“DIGEST – 1. Protests challenging as unduly restrictive of competition solicitation provisions that limit the ability of offerors competing for small business awards under a contractor team arrangement to propose large business subcontractors are denied where the provisions are reasonably related to the agency’s interest in promoting small business subcontractors. 2. Protests that the agency did not provide a reasonable amount of time to respond to a solicitation amendment are denied where the relevant regulations do not establish a mandatory minimum amount of time for responses to amendments, and where the allotted time was otherwise reasonable. 3. Protests that solicitation provisions do not allow offerors to intelligently compete are denied where the provisions are not unclear or ambiguous.” 

“DISCUSSION – IGS and Definitive raise three primary challenges to the terms of the solicitation: (1) the RFP provisions concerning the submission of proposals as CTAs are unduly restrictive of competition; (2) the RFP does not provide a reasonable time to respond to the changes to the CTA provisions in RFP amendment Nos. 7 and 11; and (3) the RFP is unclear regarding the basis on which experience will be evaluated with regard to the value of contracts performed, and is also unclear regarding the basis on which proposals will be compared for purposes of award. Protests at 5-11. For the reasons discussed below, we find no basis to sustain either protest.3 Unduly Restrictive CTA Provisions IGS and Definitive argue that the solicitation provisions concerning the submission of proposals for small business awards by firms competing as CTAs are unduly restrictive of competition. Protests at 5-9; Comments at 6-8. Specifically, the protesters argue that the RFP improperly prohibits small business offerors from proposing to perform with large business subcontractors. We find no merit to these arguments…” 

“Time to Submit Proposals Next, IGS and Definitive argue that RFP amendments 7 and 10 did not provide a reasonable amount of time for offerors to respond to changes in the requirements concerning CTAs under FAR section 9.601(2) set forth in each of those amendments. Protests at 6-8; Comments at 2-6. We find no merit to these arguments. The solicitation was issued on May 25, and offerors were permitted a total of 94 days to submit proposals between that date and the final closing date of August 27, established by RFP amendment 11. RFP amendment 7, which introduced the limitation on large business subcontractors for offerors seeking to compete for small business awards as CTAs under FAR section 9.601(2), was issued on July 19, which resulted in a total of 39 days from the issuance of that amendment to submit proposals. RFP amendment 10, which required offerors to provide additional information regarding the limitation on subcontracting in FAR clause 52.219-14, was issued on August 16, which resulted in a total of 11 days from the issuance of that amendment to submit proposals. RFP amendment 11, which clarified the limitation on large business subcontractors concerning experience credit, was issued on August 20, which resulted in a total of 7 days from the issuance of that amendment to submit proposals…” 

“DECISION – International Global Solution, LLC (IGS), a small business, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Definitive InfoTech Services and Solutions, LLC (Definitive), a small business, of Louisville, Kentucky, challenge the terms of solicitation No. 75N98121R00001, which was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the award of multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) for information technology services, known as Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP4). The protesters Page 2 B-419956.20; B-419956.22 allege that the request for proposals (RFP) is unduly restrictive of competition with regard to the ability of small business offerors to propose large business subcontractors; did not provide offerors a reasonable amount time to respond to solicitation amendments concerning the challenged subcontracting provisions; and contains provisions that are unclear or ambiguous. We deny the protests.” 

Read the full 15-page report here. 


Updated October 28, 2021 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, here we note another protest – that by Ardent Management Consulting – dismissed. 

No details have been provided as to the grounds for the challenge at this time, nor the reason for the dismissal. 

Please note that a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and oftentimes only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process. 

Details on the prior sequence of actions are available in the thread below. 


Updated October 7, 2021 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, here we note a protest – levied by Tata America International Corporation – that was denied and the decision details promptly released. 

“DIGEST – Protest alleging that a solicitation requirement that offerors disclose the identity of contracts and customers to demonstrate corporate experience is unduly restrictive of competition, because the protester contends it cannot disclose those details due to confidentiality agreements with its commercial customers, is denied where the requirement is reasonably related to the agency’s need to validate the claimed experience.” 

“DISCUSSION – TAIC argues that the RFP is unduly restrictive of competition because it requires offerors to provide information to validate their corporate experience4 that would disclose the identity of their customers and contracts performed. Protest at 5-6. The protester contends that this requirement places prospective offerors such as itself at a competitive disadvantage because its otherwise relevant commercial contracts contain confidentiality provisions that prohibit disclosure of information required by the RFP. Id. at 6. For the reasons discussed below, we find no basis to sustain the protest. Agencies must specify their needs in a manner designed to permit full and open competition, and may include restrictive requirements only to the extent they are necessary to satisfy the agencies’ legitimate needs or as otherwise authorized by law…” 

“TAIC argues that the RFP’s requirement to provide the information required by attachment J.6 is unduly restrictive of competition because the protester is “legally restricted from providing this information in some cases based on confidentiality agreements with its commercial customers.” Protest at 2. The protester contends that it “possesses the requisite experience in the commercial sector” to compete for an award, but states that it cannot claim self-scoring points under the RFP because it cannot disclose certain of those contracts. Protest at 2, 6. Specifically, the protester explains that it is “precluded by the terms of certain confidentiality agreements from disclosing customer names, contract numbers, period of performance, and corporate official contract information, as required by Attachment J.6.” Id. at 6. For example, the protester states that “one of TAIC’s contracts includes a confidentiality provision that defines ‘the existence and terms’ of the contract as ‘Confidential Information’ that TAIC is obligated to hold in confidence and may not disclose to anyone, at any time (other than to its personnel to perform the services required under the contract)…” 

“DECISION – Tata America International Corporation (TAIC), of New York, New York, protests the terms of solicitation No. 75N98121R00001, which was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the award of multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) for information technology services, known as Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP4). The protester argues that the solicitation’s corporate experience requirements, which require offerors to identify their customers, are unduly restrictive of competition because certain of the commercial contracts the protester wishes to cite in its proposal contain confidentiality provisions that prohibit disclosure of the information required by the request for proposals (RFP). We deny the protest.” 

Read the full 7-page decision here.


Updated September 30, 2021 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, here we note two protests – levied by Ellumen and Woodbourne Solutions – withdrawn.  No details are available. 


Updated September 16, 2021 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, here we note a new protest and another withdrawn. 

A new protest has been filed by Ardent Management Consulting. The listed due date for a decision is no later than December 20, 2021. 

The protest by Mission Driven Ventures has been withdrawn. No details are available.


Updated September 10, 2021 

G2X TAKE: While CIO-SP4 has finally been put to bed – sort of – we continue to monitor the updates and protests related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices.

Here we note two protests – by Team HumanTouch and Teracore – both dismissed. Please note that a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and oftentimes only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process. 

We also note the protest by Bering HumanTouch JV 1 has been withdrawn. No details are available. 


Updated August 25, 2021

G2X TAKE: We continue to monitor the updates and protests related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices. Here we note a slew of new protests; a reprotest; a quick dismissal and updates to multiple prior actions. 

Fresh protests have been levied by Ellumen with a listed decision date of no later than November 17, 2021; and by Definitive Infotech Services & Solutions, International Global Solution,  CWS FMTI JV, Computer World Services Corporation, and Woodbourne Solutions with listed due dates of no later than November 29, 2021.

We also note a reprotest by Sara Software Systems which was filed and very quickly dismissed. No details are available as to the grounds for this latest action, nor for the dismissal. 

Action Updates: The protest by Pluribus Digital has been dismissed. The protest by Capgemini Government Solutions has been withdrawn. 

Prior actions and some previously released protest documents are available in the thread below. 


Updated August 11, 2021 

G2X TAKE: Continuing to follow the activity related to this GWAC intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, here we note two new protests, the withdrawal of one, and the release of more protest documents. 

No details are available as to the grounds for the new protest actions by Teracore or Capgemini. The listed due date for a decision in each case is no later than November 10, 2021. 

We also note that the recent protest by KaZee has now been withdrawn. No details are available. 

Details on prior actions are available in the thread below. 

NITAAC has also released another batch of five protest documents, some redacted, one that is not. 

Protests note: 

  • “…the Solicitation still includes instructions that single out and disparately treat large business mentors who are participating in an SBA approved mentor-protégé JV. More here. 
  • “..The two-week notice provided by Amendment 7 is insufficient to reconstruct a new team. An extension of 6-12 months or a reversion to the original requirements seems appropriate.” More here. 
  • “…the agency’s most recent amendment resulted in material deviations from the agency’s previous statements—statements upon which Protester relied in order to submit its proposal. These changes unduly restrict competition, particularly given that the agency has made this about face just days prior to the due date for proposals, after allowing offerors more than a year to establish their CTAs—CTAs whose strategic purpose have now been turned on their head.” More here. 

See all of the newly released protest documents here. 


Updated August 3, 2021  

G2X TAKE: As activity continues to flow related to this GWAC initially intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, here we present a check-in on the latest protest news.  

Updates:  

We note a fresh protest by KaZee with a listed due date of no later than November 4, 2021; and protests by Bering HumanTouch JV 1, Team HumanTouch and Mission Driven Ventures with listed due dates of no later than November 8, 2021. As is generally the case, no details are available as to the grounds for the protests at this time. 

We also note that the protest by AgilisTEK has now been dismissed. No details are yet available. 

Please note that a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and oftentimes only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process.


Updated July 27, 2021

G2X TAKE: As the weeks roll on the amendments, and protests, related to this GWAC initially intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, continue to pile on. Here we note a fresh protest. 

No details are available as to the grounds for the protest by Pluribus Digital but they will be shared here as they are available. The listed due date for a decision is no later than November 1, 2021. 

By our count that makes 3 open protests; 6 dismissed; and eight amendments – so far. Details on the prior sequence of actions are available in the thread below. 


Updated July 21, 2021 

G2X TAKE: With the current proposal due date just extended, here we note a flurry of new activity related to this GWAC initially intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, and to give Government agencies a mechanism to help meet their socio-economic contracting goals to include a new protest and several dismissals. 

The protests by Reliable Mission Solutions SDVOSB JV; Amaxiam, LLC; GPSItek JV; Mahani Technical Services; Sara Software Systems; and 2TechJV have all been dismissed. The protest by AgilisTEK appears to yet be open with a listed due date of no later than October 18, 2021. 

Please note that a ‘dismissal’ by GAO does not necessarily mean the issue is resolved and oftentimes only indicates the contracting authority/agency has agreed to proactively take some corrective action to address a deficiency identified as part of the protest process. 

A new protest has been levied by Tata America International with a listed due date of no later than October 25.

No details are yet available as to any of the decisions, nor the reasons for the latest protests. Protest documents on the initial batch of protests are available in the thread below. 


Updated July 14, 2021 

G2X TAKE: NITAAC has released redacted versions of the seven protests related to this GWAC initially intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, and to give Government agencies a mechanism to help meet their socio-economic contracting goals. 

Noted among the protests: 

“…the RFP is contrary to U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) regulations, ambiguous and unduly restricts competition, particularly amongst mentor protégé arrangements, in a manner that does not serve a legitimate Government need. Further, the Agency has failed to provide offerors with sufficient time to respond to the RFP given the substantive amendments made to the RFP since its released and the terms of the RFP are unduly restrictive of competition…” See more here. 

In another: 

“…In requiring Form SF 1407 to “assess an offeror’s financial health” the Agency has established a standard for definitive responsibility without establishing any objective measure of how the standard will be satisfied….” See more here.   

In another: 

“The RFP improperly requires the protégé member of any mentor-protégé joint venture offeror to meet the same experience requirements as all other offerors (and limits the government’s consideration of corporate experience of the mentor to a single example for each RFP task area), in violation of SBA regulations. 2. The RFP contains patent ambiguities that prevents offerors from competing intelligently and on a relatively equal and common basis…” See more here. 

See all of the protest documents here. 


Updated July 12, 2021 

G2X TAKE: On the heels of a slew of initial protests, two more protests have been levied related to this GWAC initially intended to provide Government agencies with a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, and to give Government agencies a mechanism to help meet their socio-economic contracting goals. 

No details are yet available as to the grounds for the protests by Reliable Mission Solutions SDVOSB JV or AgilisTEK but they will be shared here as they are available. The listed due dates for decisions is no later than October 14, 2021 and October 18, 2021 respectively.

Solicitation documents and access to the multiple amendments already posted are available here. 


Posted July 6, 2021 

G2X TAKE: As anticipated, numerous pre-award protests have already been levied related to this GWAC initially intended to provide Government agencies a mechanism for quick ordering of IT solutions and services at fair and reasonable prices, to give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements, and to give Government agencies a mechanism to help meet their socio-economic contracting goals.

Protests have been levied thus far by Mahani Technical Services; Sara Software Systems; Amaxiam; GPSItek JV; and 2TechJV. No details are yet available as to the grounds for any of the protests but they will be shared here as they are available. Decisions on each are due no later than October 12, 2021.

Solicitation documents and access to the multiple amendments already posted are available here.

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