L-1 Protests TSA's TWIC Award To Lockheed Martin

By Calvin Biesecker

L-1 Identity Solutions [ID] recently said it has filed a protest over the

Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) $70 million contract award last

month to Lockheed Martin [LMT] for a biometric enabled smart card for the

nation's port workers over what it said are "certain critical mistakes" made by

TSA in evaluating its proposal.

L-1 declined to elaborate on what mistakes TSA made, although it said

that one of issues dealt with a "misread" of the "proposed price" as well also

other key aspects of the proposal.

"We are convinced that had the TSA evaluated all offers fairly and

properly, the agency would have concluded that the [L-1] IBT team unquestionably

offered the government the most capable, most affordable, and best value

solution," Robert LaPenta, L-1's chairman, president, and CEO said in a

statement.

Integrated Biometric Technology, or IBT, is the L-1 subsidiary that bid

for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program won by

Lockheed Martin.

LaPenta indicated that L-1 might change its tune once it gains a clearer

understanding of TSA's evaluation determination.

"This is the first step in that process, and our conclusions may continue

to evolve as more information becomes available," LaPenta said.

The protest was filed through the Federal Aviation Administration's

Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition (ODRA), which is responsible for

resolving challenges to award decisions made by TSA. TSA is exempt from having

protests of its awards handled by the Government Accountability Office, which

typically decides on challenges to contract awards.

Having ODRA in charge of resolving the dispute could be tough on L-1,

according to Stanford Equity Research analyst Jeremy Grant.

"It is known as a notoriously difficult forum for any company to win a

protest, as the rules that govern ODRA are heavily weighted in the government's

favor," Grant told Defense Daily. "It may not matter whether or not TSA made

mistakes in the evaluation of the proposals, so long as ODRA gets to rule on the

case, L-1 is likely to have a very tough time winning."

IBT already does credentialing work for TSA through the Hazardous

Materials printing program whereby it enrolls commercial drivers seeking

licensing to haul chemicals and other hazardous materials.

<<C4I News -- 02/16/07>>

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