A pre-award protest of a request for proposals for professional services was denied because the protester failed to establish the experience requirement for joint ventures was unduly restrictive of competition. The RFP for services supporting the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services program required JV offerors to have proven experience and performance under an existing contract team arrangement.
The JV itself—and not the individual business entities forming the JV—had to satisfy the relevant experience requirement. The protester argued the RFP was unduly restrictive of competition because it did not allow newly-formed JV offerors to satisfy the experience requirement through the experience of the individual JV members.
The Comptroller General concluded the record supported the government’s position the requirement was reasonably necessary to meet its needs. According to the government, its market research led it to conclude that newly-formed JVs without a proven “track record” of experience could pose performance risks, especially in solicitations involving complex, high-dollar service requirements.
The market research included a survey of articles and books assessing problems resulting in lower success rates for JVs. Although many of these materials were written to increase the likelihood of successful performance by JVs, the articles were clearly written to address JV performance problems. The government surveyed this literature and concluded that, if possible, it would prefer to avoid some of these risks.
The Comptroller General found the government acted within its discretion to take notice of this work, and to reach conclusions about the possibility of increased performance risk from newly-formed JVs without prior experience operating as a joint entity. “On questions like this one, we will not substitute our judgment for the [government’s] judgment.”