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- GAO sustained the protester’s challenge where the Defense Department considered a factor that was not reasonably encompassed within the evaluation criteria.
- The RFQ provided that the agency would evaluate technical approach to determine the extent to which the approach demonstrated understanding of the requirements, feasible methods to accomplish required tasks, and reliable methods for ensuring quality deliverables.
- In comparing the protester and awardee’s quotations, though, the agency found that the protester’s approach was only “somewhat superior” because it relied on “experience and not necessarily innovation.”
- GAO found this conclusion inconsistent with the RFQ’s evaluation criteria, which did not put offerors on notice that their approach would be devalued if rooted in experience rather than innovation.
- GAO found no clear nexus between the identified evaluation criteria and the agency’s consideration of experience and innovation and sustained the protest accordingly.