Postscript II: Enhanced Debriefings
34 Nash & Cibinic Report ¶ 26 (May 2020)
5 Pages Posted: 13 May 2020
Date Written: May 2020
This short piece, which supplements the discussion from February 2020 (also on SSRN) discusses the Department of Defense (DoD) post-award debriefing of the disappointed offeror (Amazon) following the award (to Microsoft) of the $10 billion, $10-year Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud computing contracting opportunity.
This supplemental discussion derives from the extraordinary, 300+ page, DoD Inspector General review and report on the procurement (issued in April 2020) and highlights a number of the surprises in the IG report, including: DoD's assertion of a “presidential communications privilege” to avoid responding to inquiries related to alleged White House influence of the procurement; additional information with regard to conflicts of interest by various officials during the procurement; improper disclosure of source selection information; and, of course, DoD's debriefing.
Ultimately, the piece highlights the stark disconnect between DoD's (and the government's) policy, aspiration, and leadership expectation with regard to debriefings, on the one hand, and practice in the breach on the other. Among other things, the piece concludes that it's time for GAO to take a fresh look at its jurisdiction over debriefings. Unfortunately, this ongoing saga also raises the question of whether DoD is a transparent, honest broker in dealing with its contracting partners.
Keywords: Debriefings, enhanced debriefings, transparency, bid protests, government contracts, defense acquisition, negotiated procurement, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), inspector general
JEL Classification: H57, K12, K23, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation