This proposal seeks to standardize the task and delivery order protest dollar threshold for defense and civilian agencies by raising the civilian agency threshold from $10 million to equal the defense agency threshold at $25 million.
So while this is a straightforward action, it does have extensive implications. Currently, the task and delivery order protest threshold are those things that apply to multiple-award IDIQ-type contracts.
Let’s say, for example, you’re on a contract vehicle like GSA Aliant and you lose a task order. Currently, you can only lodge a protest if the dollar value of the contract exceeds $10 million, however the same situation on the defense side has a threshold of $25 million before you can protest.
If this OMB proposal goes into effect, then everyone would be subject to the higher $25 million limit, below which a protest would not be allowed on task and delivery order contracts.
This will have the effect of reducing the number and likelihood of protests in the civil sector. Things that were formally protestable between $10 million and $25 million will no longer be protestable.
From the government’s standpoint, it is certainly sensible for both sides to have the same rules. By taking on the larger standard, however, it will reduce the protestasbility of a large number of task orders. This is likely to be more of a problem for small businesses then for large businesses.
The government is attempting to streamline and reduce the activities that are different between civil and defense section and in the long run, and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, the reason the rules are different is there is less money in the civil sector and the jobs are smaller in size, and that’s the way it’s always been. Ultimately this is not good news for the small businesses who now cannot protest.