By: Lane F. Kelman

In making an award on initial proposals, is a tradeoff only between the two (2) highest-rated, highest-priced proposals appropriate?  The GAO, in a recent decision,Coastal Environments, Inc., B-401889, dated December 18, 2009, provides important clarification.  The decision beckons closer scrutiny of awards by unsuccessful offerors.

In Coastal Environments, Inc.

The GAO announced yesterday that it had decided to sustain Boeing’s protest of the Air Force’s selection of Northrop Grumman (who included the European company Airbus on its team) over Boeing for the $40 billion aerial tanker contract – a contract that could ultimately be worth $100 billion.  Considering the GAO’s history of denying most of