TWIC contract award protested

The Transportation Security Administration's $70 million contract to deploy the Transportation Worker's Identification Card is under protest.

Integrated Biometric Technology of Stamford, Conn., filed an objection to TSA's decision to award the contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. with the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition.

ODRA handles challenges to contracts for TSA instead of the Government Accountability Office.

IBT claims TSA made critical mistakes in its evaluation of its proposal.

'We are convinced that had TSA evaluated all offer proposals fairly and properly, the agency would have concluded that the IBT team unquestionably offered the government the most capable, most affordable and best value solution,' said Robert LaPenta, chairman, CEO and president of L-1, IBT's parent company.

IBT said it TSA 'misread certain key aspects' of their proposal, including their total price.

ODRA offers two types of adjudication processes. The first is alternative dispute resolution where the parties discuss the situation with an intermediary. If the dispute cannot be settled this way, it moves to a more traditional protest process. An ODRA official said both of these approaches could occur simultaneously.

Integrated Biometric Technology had five days after its debriefing to submit its protest. ODRA usually takes about 60 days to resolve a protest. The official said more than 66 percent of all protests are resolved through alternative dispute resolution.

Some experts believe the company's chances are slim in winning.

ODRA rarely issues stop-work orders on protested contracts because, the ODRA official said, it would harm the FAA's mission.

'ODRA has a reputation as being an incredibly difficult place for any industry protester to win because the hurdles that govern protests under ODRA is more heavily weighted in the government's favor than those that typically go to GAO,' said Jeremy Grant, senior vice president, emerging technologies analyst for the Washington Stanford Group Co. of Washington. 'Traditionally speaking, the rules that govern protests under ODRA gives more latitude to the contracting officer to decide what decisions are appropriate and which are not.'

"TSA will review the protest under the FAA's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition's process," a TSA spokewoman said.

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