Allard Nazarian Group d/b/a Granite State Manufacturing (GSM) protested its exclusion from the competitive range established by the Naval Sea Systems Command Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (the Agency). 

In January 2017, the Agency issued an RFP for anti-submarine warfare combat systems in which it informed potential offerors that award would be based on a best-value tradeoff. GSM was eliminated from the competitive range because its proposal was deemed unacceptable due to an extremely high price. When GSM received its debriefing on November 21, 2017, they were informed by the CO that “[t]he costs/prices proposed by GSM are so significantly high that it cannot reasonably be expected that it can lower its price during negotiations to a degree where it […] would have a reasonable chance for award.” 

GSM protested to GAO on November 24, 2017 and supplemented its protest on December 1, 2017. These initial and supplemental filings protested the agency’s evaluation of GSM’s technical proposal and past performance, but did not challenge the agency’s finding that GSM’s proposed costs/prices were too high. GSM did not address the issue of price until after the release of the Agency Record, when the Memorandum of Law pointed out that GSM failed to address its exorbitant price. This was too late, according to GAO. GSM knew that its proposal was excluded based on its high price when it was debriefed on November 21, 2017. Therefore, its argument—over a month later—on the issue of price is untimely, and GAO refused to consider it. Furthermore, because the extremely high price was the reason GSM was excluded from the competitive range, GSM could not be competitively prejudiced by any other alleged errors in the procurement, and GAO did not reach these arguments.

Takeaway: Protesters should make sure that they are challenging the discriminating factors for their exclusion from the competition. If a debriefing tells a protester that it lost for reason X, make sure that the protest addresses X.