U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. Oam
  3. Lab

Was this page helpful?

GAO Cases on Innovative Approaches

The Lab - Acquisition Innovation


Smart Risk-Taking Learning Opportunities From GAO Cases

 *Disclaimer: The following GAO cases are compiled to guide acquisition teams; however, it is strongly advised that readers review the entire GAO case. This information is not meant to be interpreted as legal advice.

GAO Case FAR Why this case is a good read*

Advanced Technology Systems, Inc., B-296493.6, October 6, 2006

FAR 8.4
  • Responsibility determination not required when placing a task or delivery order under FSS contract.
  • FAR 8.405-2(d) requires level of effort and labor mix evaluation in selection decision when SOW is required.

AlliantCorps, LLC, B-417126; B-417126.3; B-417126.4, February 27, 2019

FAR 8.4
  • Comparative evaluation
  • Streamlined evaluation and not documenting each component of vendor quotation. Agencies Solicitation advised about limited evaluation record. GAO - Judgement must be documented in sufficient detail to show it is not arbitrary.

Amyx Inc., B-416734.2, April 9, 2019

FAR 8.4
  • Streamlined Evaluation and Selection Documents
  • Documentation need only be sufficient to establish that the agency was aware of the relative merits of the competing quotes.
CACI, Inc., B-420441; B-420441.2; B-420441.3; April 7, 2022

FAR 16.505(b)(1)

  • Protest that agency improperly evaluated proposals under solicitation’s corporate experience factor and conducted a flawed best-value tradeoff is sustained because the solicitation established the corporate experience factor as the most important factor for the purpose of the agency’s best-value tradeoff process, yet the agency evaluated corporate experience solely on a pass/fail basis and did not afford the factor any further qualitative consideration in the tradeoff decision.
  • Two phase evaluation approach could have been successfully if the role of pass/fail factor was better spelled out in the solicitation and followed through to award.

Deloitte Consulting LLP, B-417988.2; B-417988.3; B-417988.4, March 23, 2020

FAR 8.4
  • Agency documentation did not adequately support award to lower price offeror.
  • Agencies may not base their decisions on ratings alone, but are required to consider underlying bases for ratings.
Dentrust Dental International, Inc B-419054.2; B-419054.3, April 6, 2021 FAR 15.3
  • Confidence Rating
  • Oral Presentations
E. Huttenbauer & Son. Inc. B-258018.3, March 20, 1995  
  • Responsibility is a contract formation matter and per FAR not required when exercising an option.

E3 Federal Solutions, LLC d/b/a Avantus Federal, B-419712; B-419712.2, July 8, 2021

FAR 16.505(b)(1)

  • Confidence Rating
  • Oral Presentations
  • Tradeoff decision to award to higher price even when same confidence rating is supported by documentation.
ESAC, Inc B-413104.34, April 17, 2019

FAR 15.3

  • Go/no-go phased evaluation
  • CTA Contractor Team Arrangements

IBM Corporation, B-415575, January 19, 2018

FAR 15.3

  • Confidence Rating
  • Advisory down-select
  • Oral Presentations
  • Innovative Market Research techniques

Leidos Innovation Corporation, B-415514; B-415514.2; B-415514.3, January 18, 2018

FAR 16.505(b)(1)

  • Best suited then negotiate
  • Agencies do not need to videotape or record oral presentation.
  • Responsibility on persuasive response during oral presentation falls on offeror.

MTB-Group, Inc, B-295463, February 23, 2005

FAR 13
  • Reverse auction format under SAP do not expressly prohibit disclosure of vendors’ prices.

Sapient Government Services, Inc., B-412163.2, January 4, 2016

FAR 16.505(b)(1)

  • Streamlined Evaluation and Selection Documents Technique.
  • Oral presentations are not discussions.
  • Simple and brief bullets can be used to document technical evaluations.
Science and Technology Corporation, B-420216, January 3, 2022 FAR 16.505(b)
  • Department of Commerce protest
  • Agency restriction of experience solely to the prime is not objectionable if the requirement meets an agency’s legitimate need, e.g., to reduce risk of unsuccessful performance due to complexity. 
  • Agency is not required to evaluate past performance under a task order competition, but rather, can use Corporate Experience to obtain more meaningful insight into the capabilities of an offeror.

Sevatec Inc., B-413559.3, January 11, 2017

FAR 15.3

  • It is not a CICA violation to exclude offerors before considering price.
  • Tradeoff selection has been achieved as the process considered price of every awardee.

The Ambit Group, LLC, B-420079, November 19, 2021

FAR 8.4

  • Down-select go, no-go basis with failure to establish valid protest grounds on down-selection, disqualifies protester as an interested party.
  • Requirement may be burdensome or impossible for a given company to meet if it reasonably represents the agency’s needs.

VariQ Corporation, B-414650.11; B-414650.15, May 30, 2018

FAR 16.505(b)(1)

  • Select best-suited, then negotiate
  • Number count of strengths and weaknesses is not a great foundation for award decision.

Verisys Corporation, B-413204.5; B-413204.6; B-413204.7, October 2, 2017

FAR 8.4

  • Oral Presentations
  • Price reduction exchanges per FAR 8.405-4.

Vertical Jobs, B-415891.2; B-415891.4, April 19, 2018

FAR 15.3

  • Oral presentation is not discussion as offerors were never afforded an opportunity to submit proposal revisions.
  • Protester not an interested party if not next in line for award.

XL Associates Inc. d/b/a XLA, B-417426.3, January 16, 2020

FAR 8.4

  • Confidence Rating
  • Protester relied on another vendor consistent with past orders; however, the agency lowered rating and GAO found it reasonable.



Questions on these cases?

Contact us here: TheLab@doc.gov


Return to The Lab Main Page.