The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has denied ManTech International Corp.’s [MANT] protest for a potential $98 million Air Force contract after an email glitch caused its proposal to miss the required deadline.
ManTech will no longer be considered for a contract to assess National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency cloud migration efforts after emails containing the company’s proposal were rejected by the Air Force’s email server.
“ManTech has failed to establish that its proposal was actually delivered to the agency’s designated e-mail prior to the time set for the receipt of proposals, and thus, has failed to meet its burden of showing that its proposal was timely delivered to the agency,” the GAO writes in its Oct. 20 protest decision. “Accordingly, the agency could not consider the proposal.”
Proposals for the task order, issued under an Air Force indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, were due at 1 p.m. Central time on July 17.
Several attempts to email the proposal to the designated Air Force agency on deadline day proved unsuccessful.
ManTech reached out to Air Force officials notifying them that Outlook confirmed the emails were delivered, but no confirmation was given that they were received by the contract specialist.
One minute after the deadline passed, the contracting officer told ManTech not to send any further emails, and that their proposal was no longer eligible for consideration.
Air Force officials reported that their enterprise email security gateway (EEMSG) scanned the ManTech messages and were unable to deliver them to the designated office. The EEMSG found content on the emails that blocked them from being delivered.
“ManTech asserts that since it did not receive a bounce back indicating that the e-mail containing the proposal had been rejected, it must have been accepted by the agency’s e-mail exchange server,” the GAO writes in its report. “ManTech concludes that the Air Force should be required to consider ManTech’s proposal since it made it beyond the initial point of entry to the government’s infrastructure.”
The EEMSG’s inbound system can’t connect to the Internet, and therefore does not send bounce back receipts, according to the GAO.
In the report, the GAO says it denies the protest as it’s the company’s responsibility to deliver the proposal on time and the protester has the burden of showing the message was delivered in a timely manner to the specified address.