The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Wednesday said it rejected a protest filed by losing bidder PAE [PAE] of a $1.3 billion contract by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to Amentum for maintenance and logistics support for most of the agency’s fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.
The GAO’s decision was made on June 8 but not announced until Wednesday due to a protective order and the need to redact portions of the decision. However, the matter may not be closed.
Washington Technology said in an earlier report that PAE has taken the matter to the Court of Federal Claims. CBP declined to comment “due to this matter being part of ongoing litigation.” PAE did not reply to queries about the matter before our deadline.
DynCorp International originally won the 10-year National Aircraft Maintenance and Logistics Services contract in 2019 but a subsequent protest by losing bidders PAE and Vertex Aerospace resulted in CBP taking corrective action and awarding the contract to PAE, which was the incumbent for the work.
However, a protest by DynCorp, which is now part of Amentum, eventually led to CBP re-awarding the contract to DynCorp. That led in turn to another protest by PAE earlier this year that GAO has now rejected.
Under the contract, Amentum will provide services to CBP’s fleet of 211 fixed- and rotary-wing assets, excluding P-3 and unmanned aircraft systems, which are serviced under separate contracts.
According to the GAO decision, PAE bid $1.27 billion for the contract and DynCorp $1.36 billion. DynCorp scored high confidence/low risk on three of three evaluation factors for the award while PAE was evaluated at high confidence/low risk on two of the factors but only confidence/medium risk on the third factor, which was Maintenance Technical.
PAE protested on several grounds, including the fact that two individuals listed by DynCorp on its bid were no longer with the company. GAO said these errors didn’t weigh on CBP’s evaluation of DynCorp’s proposal.
PAE also protested CBP’s scoring of its bid under the Maintenance Technical factor, but GAO said PAE failed to make its case in the protest.
GAO also rejected PAE’s complaint that CBP didn’t give it an advantage in the Safety factor of the evaluation after giving the company an advantage on this score in prior bids for the contract. However, GAO says that it’s more important that the latest evaluation reflects the merits of the offer, not consistency with the prior evaluation.
GAO also says that in CBP’s evaluation of the respective bids based on the Safety factor there was “’little difference in the benefits to the agency’ between the two proposals.”