Matter of WorldWide Language Resources, Inc.; SOS International Limited

2005 WL 3143870 (2005)

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Matter of WorldWide Language Resources, Inc.; SOS International Limited

United States Government Accountability Office
2005 WL 3143870 (2005)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

The federal government (defendant) required bilingual-bicultural advisor-subject matter experts (BBA-SME) to support the United States’ efforts to establish democracy in Iraq. The initial requirement, issued by the United States Air Force (defendant) in August 2004, was for BBA-SMEs to support the January 2005 Iraqi election. The Air Force initially planned to offer the BBA-SME acquisition contract to awardees of the Air Force’s GEITA contract, which was an environmental services contract. However, in November 2004, the Air Force determined the BBA-SME contract was outside the scope of the GEITA contract. The Air Force then decided to award the BBA-SME requirement as a sole-source contract, citing unusual and compelling urgency as the justification for awarding the contract without full-and-open competition. The Air Force issued the sole-source contract to Operational Support Services (OSS), a linguistic and cultural services contractor, in December 2004 (the December 2004 contract) without considering any alternatives. In May 2005, the government authorized an additional contract increasing the number of BBA-SMEs and extending the performance period. The Air Force awarded the contract to OSS in July 2005 as a sole-source contract (the July 2005 contract), citing urgency and claiming that OSS was the only responsible contractor able to fulfill the government’s requirements without delay. The government did not investigate any alternative contractors in the three months between May and July 2005. WorldWide Language Resources, Inc. (WLR) and SOS International, Limited (SOSI) protested the Air Force’s award of the two sole-source contracts to OSS, arguing that (1) the urgency cited to justify the lack of full-and-open competition was caused by the Air Force’s failure of advance planning; and (2) the Air Force violated the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) by failing to solicit bids from as many contractors as practicable.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gamboa, General Counsel)

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