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Further, to the extent the agency considered this issue during the award of the northeastern jurisdiction task order, as it pertained to the potential conflicts that may have occurred due to Safeguard's parent company's performance of MMIS contracts in that jurisdiction, again, the identification of conflicts of interest is a fact-specific inquiry. Thus, to the extent that the agency may have considered a similar type of conflict in the award of a task order in a different jurisdiction does not discharge its obligation to meaningfully consider whether a significant conflict of interest exists for this specific procurement. On this record, we cannot find that "CMS clearly gave meaningful consideration to the potential for conflicts of interest" and that the "record here is replete with solid analysis of the potential for concern with regard to the Awardee's conflict of interest," as argued by the agency. (Advance Med Corporation B-415062, B-415062.2: Nov 17, 2017)Contracting officers are required to identify and evaluate potential OCIs as early in the acquisition process as possible, and avoid, neutralize, or mitigate significant potential conflicts of interest before contract award. The responsibility for determining whether an actual or apparent conflict of interest will arise, and to what extent the firm should be excluded from the competition, rests with the contracting officer. BAE argues that the COs acknowledgement of the appearance of a conflict of interest should have been the end of the inquiry, and that the award to Leidos should have been found tainted as a result the advisors ownership of Leidos stock. See FAR 3.101-1; FAR 3.1103(a)(3)(iii); Celeris Sys., Inc., B-404651, Mar. Our Office has recognized that the appearance of a conflict of interest is sufficient to warrant action to address that conflict, such as exclusion of an offeror from a competition, even where no actual impropriety can be shown, provided that the agencys determination is based on fact, and not mere innuendo and suspicion. Rather, as discussed herein, the CO further examined the record and concluded that the advisors role did not give rise to a disqualifying conflict. As an initial matter, we address the agencys contention that the protesters OCI challenge is untimely. The agency contends that the protesters OCI argument is untimely, as it was not raised within 10 days of DRSs receipt of the OCI report, which the agency alleges provided the operative facts underlying the protesters OCI contention. The agency further argues that the protesters OCI argument, contained in a footnote in its July 30 protest, did not provide a sufficient legal and factual basis for protest, and that DRSs subsequent, more detailed OCI argument represents an untimely, piecemeal presentation of its argument. Based on our review of the record, we find that the protesters OCI argument was timely raised. Since these documents were first provided to the protester as part of the agency report, we find DRSs OCI argument timely. Thus, we have no basis to question the agencys conclusion that the testing work contained in section 3.1.2 of the PWS would not create a significant OCI for LMIS.
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Unequal Access to Information AFS next alleges that IBM has an unequal access to information OCI because [t]he information to which IBM has access--financial information from all [Enterprise Resource Planning] systems--may provide IBM with a competitive advantage in the GFEBS procurement. An unequal access to information OCI exists where a firm has access to nonpublic information as part of its performance of a government contract, and where that information may provide the firm a competitive advantage in a later competition for a government contract. Here, again, the protesters allegation is largely speculative and does not allege specific facts regarding how the kind of information available to IBM in the FSPS role could possibly provide it with a competitive advantage with regard to GFEBS. The CO also found that the advisors actions did not give rise to PCI, based on what the CO viewed as the advisors limited role in support of the SSEB. In this regard, the CO stated that the advisors role did not involve recommending ratings for an offerors proposal, or recommending a particular offeror for award. Old SAIC was reorganized into New SAIC and Leidos in September 2013. The CO also concluded, as a result of her OCI investigation, that there were significant changes to the initial RFP as a result of BAEs protest of the award to L‑3. As a result of the ambiguous language, L-3 proposed to connect via Io LS, and the SSEB evaluators accepted L-3s solution -- based directlyon the lack of clarity in the solicitation. E.g., E-Mail From the Contracting Officer to the Program Manager, January 29, 2015.
The protester bases its allegation on the following FSPS PWS requirement:[The FSPS contractor will] [r]egularly run reports from the source system [Enterprise Resource Planning Systems and Defense Departmental Reporting System] to monitor general ledger account codes (GLACs) which are in an abnormal position. The CO concluded that the advisors stock ownership was therefore properly disclosed and addressed. The CO further concluded that the prompt disclosure and disposition of the stock essentially mitigated or avoided the appearance of a disqualifying conflict of interest. Following the award to L-3 in 2014, and BAEs protest of that award, the agency cancelled the initial solicitation and issued the revised solicitation. First, the CO noted the lapse of over 1 year between the reorganization of Old SAIC into Leidos and New SAIC, and the issuance of the revised RFP. The CO discounted the possibility that Old SAIC could have anticipated that, despite being barred from competing under the initial RFP, there would be a sequence of events that would later permit that firm, or some version of it, to participate in the competition. In this regard, the CO concluded that it was not foreseeable that the award under the initial solicitation would be made to L-3, that this award would result in a protest, that the Army would take corrective action in response to the protest by cancelling the initial solicitation and issuing a revised solicitation, and that the revised solicitation would be issued at a time after the reorganization of Old SAIC into two successor entities, one of which would compete for the award. The CO also concluded that changes in the revised solicitation mitigated the potential that Old SAICs role could have skewed the competition in favor of Leidos‑-that is, affect the solicitation in a way that might favor a future, reorganized version of the company. BAE knew that this capability does not presently exist via Io LS, and will not be available in the foreseeable future. The CO explained that this flaw in the solicitation required the agency to take corrective action to clarify this important programmatic issue. The CO further explained that the revised solicitation made clear that offerors may not rely on Government middleware. The CO also concluded that another significant change in the revised solicitation related to 35 objective capabilities in the original solicitation that were deleted and replaced with either new or revised requirements. at 9 (citing AR, Tab 36y, Requirements Crosswalk (5-page summary detailing changes to capabilities)). Here, the CO found that the reorganization of Old SAIC and the passage of time between the award to L-3 and the issuance of the revised RFP demonstrated that Old SAIC was not in a position to favor a future corporate entity consisting of the part of itself that would emerge from the reorganization, i.e., Leidos. Notwithstanding the fact that the program manager was engaged in acquisition-related activities at that point in time, there is no evidence in the record to show that the agency sought to obtain the information that the contracting officer now claims ultimately led her to be concerned about the relationship between the program manager and [Satellite Tracking of People, LLC] STOP.