FBI Cancels $500M Sole-Source LMR Solicitation (8/22/14)
Friday, August 22, 2014 | Comments

By Sandra Wendelken
The FBI cancelled an LMR sole-source solicitation worth up to $500 million to Motorola Solutions. Four vendors — EF Johnson Technologies, Harris, Global Technology Systems (GTS) and Relm Wireless — had protested the solicitation.

“After reviewing the protests, the FBI has concluded that the requirements in that RFP (request for proposals) were not clear and that the Justification and Approval document supporting the brand name acquisition was not sufficient per Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 11.105 and 6.302-1,” said a letter from the FBI to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Office of the General Counsel. “Therefore, as corrective action, the FBI will cancel the solicitation and reassess its requirements, as well as the acquisition strategy for meeting them.”

Relm Wireless was the first company to protest the solicitation, which would have required all mobile and portable radio transmitter and receiver equipment to be capable of SmartNet and SmartZone trunking, both of which are proprietary Motorola technology.

EFJohnson, GTS and Harris also filed protests before the July 30 deadline. The procurement was released July 14. In its justification document for the sole-source procurement, the FBI said its legacy portion of the wideband LMR system was implemented 30 years ago. The useful life has been exceeded but the system could be extended another 10 – 15 years with the upgrade to current capabilities.

“Depending on the system, everyone can do analog, conventional and trunked Project 25 (P25),” said Larry Emmett, EFJohnson director of bids and proposals. “EFJohnson has licensed SmartNet and can do it. There is nothing mentioned in the solicitation that there’s not at least one other source for.”

Mike Grosberg, GTS president and chief operating officer (COO), said his company has been supplying the FBI with chargers and batteries for the Motorola XTS radios for the past nine years. “GTS is proud to have a long history supplying the FBI with our batteries and chargers," he said. "We believe that updating the solicitation will give the Department of Justice continued access to the best products on the market."

Harris executives declined to comment.

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