by Dennis Crouch
The Federal Circuit’s new decision in DynCorp v. US (Fed. Cir. 2021) involves a bid-protest regarding a government contract. The court’s opening offers a brief insight on the complex world of DOD governmental contracts.
This bid-protest case arises from a peculiar procurement mechanism. Contracting officers often must discuss deficiencies and significant weaknesses in proposals with
offerors before proposals are final. And so when an offeror proposes a price that is unreasonably high (so as to preclude an award), the government must discuss that unreasonableness with the offeror, potentially giving it a chance to revise its proposal to fix what may have went wrong. If the price is too high yet not unreasonable, the government need not discuss it and the offeror need not get another try. The upshot is that an offeror whose initial proposal is unreasonably priced may fare better than one whose isn’t.
Here, six firms vied for spots to perform logistics work for the Army across the globe. DynCorp lost. Its prices were higher than its competitors’; its proposed technical approach was worse. After balancing four proposal-evaluation factors, none of which DynCorp was best on, the Army went with other offerors.
Now DynCorp argues that the price it gave the Army was so high as to be unreasonable—and that the Army should have concluded as much and given it the opportunity to revise its proposed approach. DynCorp takes issue with the Army’s price-reasonableness analysis, which it says skirted regulatory requirements and was irrational besides.
The Court of Federal Claims dismissed DynCorp’s bid protest, finding no error in the Army’s analysis. As we explain below, we agree. Accordingly, we affirm.