Army Materials Command skipped a competitive bidding process for short-term cyber training services, citing urgent need while it waits for a bid protest to be resolved.
“The growth of the Cyber threat to the Armed Forces mandates that the cybersecurity and tactical network management efforts for Program Executive Offices and [Major Army Commands] continue without interruption,” reads a notice of the justification published on Beta.sam.gov Monday. “A lapse in services would have impacted and/or delayed operational requirements at the tactical level, resulting in increased cost to the Government as well as the risk for potential loss of life during operational deployments.”
The Army’s contracting command awarded a $5.6 million bridge task order to Beshenich Muir & Associates, LLC, or BMA, on Jan.11 to provide support to the Regional Signal Training Sites of the U.S. Army Signal School at the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence. The contract comes with a three-month base period, to account for the adjudication of the protest of an initial task order issued to BMA on Nov. 23 from Obxtek, Inc. The bridge task order also has an additional three-month optional period in case there’s a supplemental protest.
A decision on the protest, which is not publicly available, is due from the Government Accountability office March 29 and Obxtek said it generally doesn’t comment on open cases.
The protest was in response to a request for proposal the Army issued for services to Kansas-based BMA. The Army said it requires the bridge task order against a $37 billion-ceiling contract the company received in March, 2019, for “knowledge based professional engineering support services for programs with Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance.”
The training will cover “constantly emerging Cyber requirements for data communication training [and] include network interface, virtualization, threat detection and network management,” according to the justification.
The Army said it considered undergoing a competitive process for awarding the task, but calculated that it would have taken over a hundred days to complete.
“CCoE would have needed to develop a requirements package for the 24 week task order (est. 20 days), receipt of proposal (est. 30 days), evaluation of proposals (est. 30 days based on number of proposals received), discussions and evaluation addendums (est. 25 days), and award decision (est. 10 days),” the justification reads. “The gap in services and use of Government resources to award a new effort for such a short time frame was unacceptable.”
The Army did make an effort to introduce competition into their decision making, according to the document, which notes market research it conducted via a request for information issued July, 2020.
The government reviewed the capabilities of tens of socio-economically disadvantaged groups, according to the Army, including eight that were, like BMA, service disabled veteran owned small businesses.