RAND Study: Assessing Bid Protests of U.S. Department of Defense Procurements

RAND Corporation has released a new study, Assessing Bid Protests of U.S. Department of Defense Procurements: Identifying Issues, Trends, and Drivers.

Key findings from the study include:

Despite a Steady Increase in Bid Protests Filed, Their Numbers Remain Small

  • Bid protest activity for both DoD and non-DoD agencies roughly doubled between fiscal years 2008 and 2016 at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC). DoD agencies accounted for around 60 percent of this activity, with small businesses making up half of these cases.
  • The share of contracts protested remains very small — less than 0.3 percent. A significant number of these protests concerned smaller-value contracts ($0.1 million or less).

Recommendations from the study include:

  • Enhance the quality of post-award debriefings. Improved debriefings will give disappointed bidders a better understanding of the evaluation and award process and help them better analyze potential protest grounds before filing a protest.
  • Be careful in considering reductions to the timeline for resolving bid protests filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 100 to 65 days. Seventy percent of protest cases are resolved within 60 days, but complex decisions typically take close to the 100-day limit.
  • Be careful in considering restrictions on task-order protests. These protests are more likely to be sustained or involve corrective action, so they may fill an important role in improving the fairness of DoD procurements.

Find out more about the study.

Arena, Mark V., Brian Persons, Irv Blickstein, Mary E. Chenoweth, Gordon T. Lee, David Luckey and Abby Schendt. Assessing Bid Protests of U.S. Department of Defense Procurements: Identifying Issues, Trends, and Drivers. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2018. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2356.html. Also available in print form.