It’s generally well known that, in procurements where offerors may have a right to debriefings, a disappointed offeror must submit a written request to the contracting officer within three days after receipt of written agency notice that the company’s proposal has been excluded from the competitive range (FAR 15.505(a)(3)).
If an offeror misses the deadline, it does not necessarily mean it won’t get a debriefing, but any debriefing will not be “required.”
In Exceptional Software, on Thursday, March 15, the National Security Agency (NSA) provided the protester with written notice that its proposal was excluded from the competitive range and provided a brief rationale for that exclusion. Under FAR 15.505(a)(3), the offeror then had three days – until Monday, March 19 – to request a debriefing. (When the third day falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline always moves to the next business day.) On Monday at 4:59 p.m., the offeror submitted its written request for a debriefing, which the NSA provided on April 2. Four days later, the offeror protested.
Under the GAO’s debriefing exception, a protest is timely if it is filed either within 10 days after the protester knew or should have known of the basis of protest, or within 10 days after the close of a required debriefing.
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