A Closer Look at Bid Protests in the Department of Defense
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Congress tasked the Section 809 Panel with streamlining the acquisition process at the Department of Defense (DoD; Section 809 Panel, 2018). Streamlining the acquisition process should make government more efficient and attract new business partners. The notion of large private contractors excessively protesting at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a potential barrier to entry for new businesses. This paper will explore congressional attempts to limit protests filed at the GAO through reforms in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The reform instituted a three year "losers pay"pilot program that requires contractors with unsuccessful protests to reimburse the DoD for costs incurred in processing certain protests. Based on my analysis of the data collected and a concurrent study by the RAND Corporation, this reform will not achieve the desired result of streamlining the acquisition process. Instead, the data and information gathered from the GAO, Federal Business Opportunities, and stakeholder interviews suggest that condensing protests into a singular review would streamline the acquisition process more effectively. Companies sometimes file multiple protests at the GAO regarding a single solicitation to obtain information about why they lost the bid. This policy alternative will make the federal government transparent for current contractors and potential partners.
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NPS Report NumberSYM-AM-18-074
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