Accession Number:



Government Accountability Office Bid Protests in Air Force Source Selections: Evidence and Options

Descriptive Note:

Documented briefing

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



When an offeror in an Air Force source selection believes that the Air Force has made an error that is large enough to change the outcome of the source selection, the offeror can file a protest with the Office of General Counsel of the GAO. Following a review, if GAO agrees that a significant error has occurred, it can suggest how the Air Force should correct the error. GAO cannot force the Air Force to follow its recommendation, but if the Air Force does not, GAO must report this to Congress. The Air Force almost always follows GAO recommendations when GAO sustains a bid protest. GAO sustained protests in two recent, large, and highly visible Air Force acquisitions the CSAR-X helicopter program in 2007 and the KC-X aircraft program in 2008. Both precipitated broad criticism of how the Air Force conducts source selections. As a result of the KC-X protest sustainment, OSD temporarily suspended the Air Forces control of the KC-X program source selection. In addition, complications caused by the CSAR-X protest sustainment ultimately helped lead OSD to cancel the program. The Air Force and OSD then began a series of intense reviews of Air Force source selection policies and practices. As part of this effort, during the summer of 2008, the Office of the Air Forces Service Acquisition Executive asked PAF to identify specific changes in policies and practices that could improve Air Force performance in GAO bid protests. The Air Force asked PAF to give special attention to how the Air Force conducts source selections in large acquisitions. This documented briefing reports the findings of that PAF analysis.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Helicopters
  • Transport Aircraft

Distribution Statement: