VA Gave Security Contract to Booz Allen Hamilton Despite Lower Opposing Bids

Tuesday, December 27, 2011
In awarding a contract to Booz Allen Hamilton, the Department of Veterans Affairs rejected alternative bids that were millions of dollars lower, according to the VA’s inspector general.
Booz Allen’s submission for a 2010 information security contract was $133 million—which was 22% higher than the lowest bid received by the VA. Other companies offered to do the same work for amounts ranging from $108.9 million to $115 million. The inspector general concluded that “VA’s proposal evaluation and contract award procedures demonstrated a potential bias toward the incumbent, Booz-Allen Hamilton, and did not promote full and open competition in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation.”
The IG found that the acquisition office structured the evaluation criteria in such a way that Booz Allen enjoyed a built-in advantage by having done other work for the VA. As Bob Brewin of NextGov put it: “The acquisition office decided to forgo lower cost in favor of inside knowledge of VA’s procedures and practices.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

Review of Secure VA-Chief Information Security Officer Support Services Acquisition Process (VA Office of Inspector General) (pdf) 


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