Army halts AKO work until GAO rules on protests

Lockheed Martin Corp. will not perform any work associated with the Army Knowledge Online portal until two protests challenging the contract award are heard by the Government Accountability Office.

Lockheed's Integrated Systems and Solutions Division in Gaithersburg won the $152 million contract to manage the Army's online network and was due to start work in a few weeks, managing the help desk and hosting the Army home page. Computer Sciences Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. are subcontractors to Lockheed.

But Kevin Carroll, the Army's program executive officer for enterprise information systems, said the work would be temporarily halted pending the outcome of the protests.

'A notice to proceed will not be issued to Lockheed Martin until the protest is resolved,' Carroll said.

When asked to describe the nature of the two protests, filed by competitors CherryRoad Technologies Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., and EDS Corp., Carroll said: 'The Army believes, based upon the information we have seen, that the protests have no merit.'

CherryRoad, which was one of seven incumbent contractors for AKO, claims the Army misevaluated Lockheed's proposal. EDS filed its protest after CherryRoad, citing 'multiple, significant and prejudicial errors' in the Army's source selection process that was 'so fundamentally flawed that the agency's award decision must be rejected,' according to the redacted version of the company's protest.

GAO has until Oct. 28 to rule on the protest, and then the Army must decide whether to follow the audit agency's recommendations, one of which could be reopening the contract to bidders.

AKO has 1.8 million users. Under the performance-based contract, Lockheed Martin was to provide systems operations and maintenance, network communications, hardware and software integration, and around-the-clock help desk support for both the Non-Classified IP Router Network and the Secret IP Router Network.

The performance-based contract is for a base year with six option years.

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