By Calvin Biesecker

The General Services Administration (GSA) on Friday terminated its $2.6 billion award to Northrop Grumman [NOC] to provide information technology (IT) infrastructure for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), saying “corrective action” needs to be taken following protests by the losing bidders.

In a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the GSA says that it will take corrective action and is preparing a new solicitation that will include “any necessary updates to the requirements” before reissuing the solicitation.

“The corrective action identified is necessary in order to update the requirements and to resolve issues brought to light by the protests,” Maria Bellizzi, senior assistant regional counsel for the National Capitol Region at GSA, says in the Nov. 12 letter.

GSA on Sept. 23 awarded the 10-year contract Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems Sector to develop and integrate the IT infrastructure in parallel with the construction of the new DHS headquarters campus at the old St. Elizabeth’s hospital complex in Washington D.C. (Defense Daily, Sept. 27). In October, General Dynamics [GD], Lockheed Martin [LMT], L-3 Communications [LLL] and the United States-based division of Britain’s Serco Group protested to the GAO. Lockheed Martin actually filed two protests.

The award was challenged on grounds of the adequacy of proposal evaluations, that GSA “would not conduct discussions, and the reasonableness of GSA’s best value determination,” Sara Merriam, the press secretary for the GSA, told Defense Daily yesterday. “After reviewing the protests, GSA has decided that the best course of action is to resolicit the requirements.”

Merriam said that the agency has established a “new procurement team, including a new contracting officer and a new technical evaluation board chairman” for the contract and is already preparing a new solicitation and plans to issue it “promptly.”

“On time and on budget completion of this project for DHS is of paramount importance to GSA and this re-procurement is not expected to negatively impact the project’s schedule or funding,” Merriam said in a written statement.

In its letter, the GSA asks the GAO to dismiss the protests because the corrective actions that agency is taking in regard to the IT support contract “makes these protests moot.” Information on the GAO’s bid protest web site says the case remains open.

Northrop Grumman said in a statement yesterday that it is “disappointed” in GSA’s decision and that the company “continues to believe that we have offered the best solution to meet the pressing requirements of the Department of Homeland Security in a cost effective manner. We are assessing the situation and considering the options available to the company.”