In early 2021, the General Services Administration (GSA) released the solicitation for the Polaris small business contract vehicle, which aims to replace the Alliant 2 Small Business. The Polaris contract is expected to have pools of winners in various small business categories, and agencies will use it to procure IT solutions and services across different performance areas such as cloud, cyber, data management, and information technologies. However, there were pre-award protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which led to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordering GSA to amend the solicitation and allow bidders to resubmit proposals.
As the new proposal deadline approached, two companies filed protests with GAO, alleging that GSA was not allowing them to update their past performance and experience information, and that GSA’s position favored mentor-protégé firms. However, GAO rejected these protests and sided with GSA, clearing the way for GSA to make what is expected to be hundreds of awards for Polaris. The contract has no ceiling and can also be used to procure software development and IT operations and maintenance. Despite GAO’s decision, there is still a risk of protests against the final awards.