Protester Convinces DoD to Back Down on Use of LPTA for Cyber Procurement; GAO B-417392.1, Inserso Corporation

Inserso Corporation challenged the Air Force’s decision to use a lowest-price, technically acceptable approach in a solicitation for IT and cybersecurity services, resulting in the agency’s withdrawal of the solicitation and announcement that it would resolicit the requirement using tradeoff evaluation criteria.

Inserso argued that Section 813(c) of the FY2017 NDAA, as amended by Section 822 of the FY2018 NDAA, provided that DoD should avoid the use of LPTA for acquisitions of IT or cybersecurity services. In addition, Inserso argued that the performance standards for this procurement were broad and open-ended, and therefore the use of LPTA was precluded by DoD’s source selection procedures.

Prior to the filing of the protest, the agency asserted that Section 813(b) of the FY2018 NDAA was not yet implemented in the DFARS, but Inserso argued that all other subparagraphs in Section 813 became effective when the bill was signed into law. Thus, the language obligating DoD to limit the use of LPTA procedures for certain procurements is valid and enforceable.

Because the agency disagreed with this interpretation, Inserso therefore argued the agency did not meaningfully consider how to avoid the use of LPTA procedures to the maximum extent practicable, as required by the language in the NDAA.

Before GAO could reach a decision on the merits, the agency announced it would take corrective action by redrafting the solicitation using tradeoff evaluation criteria.

Inserso Corporation is represented by Richard Rector and Daniel Cook, DLA Piper.