GSA agrees to resolve Polaris small business concerns raised in pre-award protest

The General Services Administration (GSA) Headquarters building. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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The General Services Administration has agreed to resolve a bid protest filed in late March over solicitations issued as part of the $15 billion Polaris procurement.

The Government Accountability Office on April 25 dismissed the pre-award challenge brought by federal contractor BD Squared after the agency agreed to update the language used in the solicitation.

Further details of the specific changes made to language in the RFP were not immediately available but are expected to address concerns raised by BD over the methodology used by GSA to assess the experience of offerers engaged in joint ventures as part of the solicitation.

Federal contracting sources said they expect GSA to publish an updated version of the request for proposals in the coming weeks.

Early last month, GSA paused the procurement while it assessed the merits of a challenge brought by BD Squared, in which the contractor objected to how the prior experience of small businesses is treated as part of the solicitation.

GSA in March released final RFPs for the small business and women-owned small business pools as part of the solicitation, and it is understood the agencies received over 1000 questions from offerers in relation to the documents.

Polaris is one of the most hotly anticipated governmentwide IT acquisition vehicles among federal technology contractors. It has an expected $15 billion ceiling and will allow government agencies to obtain a range of services including cloud platforms, cybersecurity and software development technology.

The contract succeeds the 8(a) STARS III and VETS 2 governmentwide acquisition contracts and is intended to further the Biden administration’s efforts to use the purchasing power of the federal government to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

“After releasing the final Polaris RFPs in March 2022 for the small business and women-owned small business pools, we received thoughtful feedback from our industry partners in the small business community and we truly appreciate it,” a GSA spokesperson said. “As a result of that feedback, GSA will take corrective action by amending the Polaris RFPs. While completing the amendment process, GSA has temporarily paused the RFPs until further notice and will issue amendments for the new proposal due date and any changes to the RFPs.”

The spokesperson added that while GSA couldn’t comment further on the active procurement, “the agency is committed to providing equitable business opportunities for historically underserved and marginalized small businesses, while supporting customer agencies and their small business program goals.”

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Government Accountability Office (GAO), GSA, Polaris
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