The Court of Federal Claims (COFC) recently affirmed that agencies are required to apply the “Rule of Two” to all federal acquisitions in its decision of Tolliver Grp., Inc. v. United States.
Further, agencies must give a reasonable explanation supported by factual evidence when canceling solicitations. The decision ensures that small businesses will continue to have robust access to
The two solicitations at issue in this case were for the procurement of training staff for a field artillery school located in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Both solicitations were set-aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs). After the Army awarded the contracts to two SDVOSBs, a third SDVOSB bidder protested the awards, alleging deficiencies in the Army’s evaluation of various factors.
The Army issued Notices of Corrective Action for both contracts, stating that it would cancel both awards, “[r]e-evaluate the requirement and acquisition strategy to ensure that it accurately reflects the Army’s current need,” and either cancel or amend the solicitations. The Army’s internal memorandums indicate that part of the rationale for revisiting the solicitations was because the Army now had a new multiple award indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (MAIDIQ) contract vehicle that encompassed the scope of the two solicitations at issue.
Using a MAIDIQ allows the government to select several possible vendors for an agency to rely on, then ask that small group of vendors to bid against one another to complete each separate task; giving the government a competitive price for each task without initiating a new contract competition and all that it would demand of contracting officers. While the Army initially intended the MAIDIQ to be a small business set-aside, the Army determined, after conducting market research, that given the breadth of the MAIDIQ’s anticipated scope of work, none of the small business proposals could meet the requirements.
On September 13, 2018, the Army issued the MAIDIQ Solicitation as a full and open competition. Five businesses were awarded the MAIDIQ contract, none of which qualified as a small business.