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
Integrated Biometric Technology, or IBT, is the L-1 subsidiary that bid
for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program won by
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>>