The Navy announced June 27 it was awarding Hewlett Packard a potential five-year, $3.5 billion contract to develop a computer network to serve up to 800,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.
Three weeks later, the inevitable happened: The losing party, a team of Harris Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp., filed a protest, potentially delaying the contract award by more than three months.
This came as no surprise to Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.
“There is no defense against a protest, but there is absolutely preparation to ensure that in the event of a protest that the government prevail, and we took every measured step to do that,” Stackley said.
Last year, losing bidders deluged the Government Accountability Office with 2,475 bid protests — a 50 percent increase since 2008. And although GAO upholds only a small number of bid protests, they still have a big impact. They have become so common that agencies expect them, build them into their contracting timelines, and regularly train their procurement staffs on how to minimize them, according to agency officials and outside experts.