Our government contracts team successfully defended an award to CWU, Inc. of a $143 million task order by the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) for linguist support services. The task order was issued under the Defense Language Interpretation and Translation Enterprise (DLITE) contract, which is a five-year, $9.7 billion Multi-Award Task Order Contract that provides interpretation and translation services DOD-wide at a variety of security levels.

The cost-plus-fixed-fee task order, which has a one-year base period and two one-year options, is for linguist, interpretation and translation support services to intelligence operations in order to meet ongoing mission requirements for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), European Command (EUCOM) and African Command (AFRICOM). The Army first selected CWU for award in November 2014. SIG, the incumbent contractor, protested that award and the agency took corrective action in December 2014. INSCOM affirmed its original award decision in March 2015 and SIG again protested.

In its second GAO protest, SIG argued that the Army’s evaluation of proposals was unreasonable and resulted in a flawed selection decision. Specifically, the protester alleged flaws in the Army’s evaluation of the offerors’ proposals in the technical, past performance and cost factors. The genesis of most of the protester’s arguments was the fact that it was the incumbent contractor, and thus the protester argued its incumbency should have merited higher evaluation scores. For example, the protester argued that as the incumbent contractor it should have been rated superior with respect to transition risk because, SIG argued, it was the only offeror that that could offer a “no-risk” transition. Likewise, the protester argued that the Army failed to recognize the differences in the offerors past performance, specifically referencing its incumbent contract. The GAO found the record did not support SIG’s arguments, but rather supported the Army’s evaluation of SIG’s proposal given that the protestor had difficulty in filling linguist positions under the incumbent contract and had been issued a letter of concern relating to the number of candidates submitted for government consideration.

After multiple rounds of briefing, the GAO denied each protest ground, finding reasonable the Army’s determination that CWU offered a superior solution for the required linguist and translation services.