Navy’s $7.7B IT Services Contract Clears Three Protests

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) steams in the Pacific Ocean.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104) steams in the Pacific Ocean. Logan C. Kellums/U.S. Navy

The Navy’s massive NGEN IT management contract is full steam ahead four months after being awarded.

The channel is clear for the Navy’s $7.7 billion Next-Generation Enterprise Networks, or NGEN, IT management contract after the Government Accountability Office denied three protests challenging the award.

The Navy’s massive IT contract is one of two recompetes established to cover the breadth of the service’s IT needs, including the larger Service Management, Integration and Transport, or SMIT, contract in question, as well as a smaller End User Hardware, or EUHW, contract for commodity IT.

The $7.7 billion SMIT contract was awarded to Leidos in February and protested by General Dynamics IT in March. The protest was denied on June 11.

Another challenger, Perspecta, filed a protest on March 9, along with adding another challenge to the docket on June 8 to cover a similar issue not fully addressed in the initial filing. Both of Perspecta’s protests were denied on June 17.

While the decisions announced Wednesday remain under protective order while the documents go through the redaction process, Ralph White, GAO managing associate general counsel for procurement law, said Perspecta’s protest centered on Leidos’ hiring of a former government official and the overall evaluation process.

“GAO denied the protest concluding that the Navy reasonably determined that Leidos did not have an unfair competitive advantage, and the Navy’s decision to waive any remaining conflict complied with regulatory requirements,” White said in a statement provided to Nextgov.

GAO also affirmed the Navy’s evaluation process was sound and “to the extent that there were errors in the agency’s evaluation, those errors did not result in competitive prejudice to Perspecta because its proposal remains higher-priced and lower-rated than Leidos’s proposal,” White said.

“We’re pleased the protest was dismissed and are hitting the ground running, having used this time to expand our preparations for immediate program execution and success,” Gerry Fasano, president of Leidos Defense Group, said in a statement. “Through this contract, Leidos will support the important mission of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps by unifying and fortifying existing networks with the best technologies. We look forward to providing the superior tools they need to gain a warfighting edge in the modern digital landscape.”

GAO does not have any additional protests on its docket for this contract. Vendors do have the option to pursue a protest in the Court of Federal Claims, though this venue is used far less often than GAO to settle contract disputes.