Analysis of Government Accountability Office Bid Protests in Air Force Source Selections over the Past Two Decades

by Thomas Light, Frank Camm, Mary E. Chenoweth, Peter Lewis, Rena Rudavsky


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To assess the Air Force's bid protest experience, the authors analyzed databases of Air Force procurement and protest activity and estimated statistical models to identify factors contributing to protest activity and outcomes. Specifically, they reviewed other studies of bid protest activity; assembled data on Air Force protests contained in the Protest and Congressional Tracking System (PACTS) database; gathered and assembled information on Air Force procurements contained in the Individual Contracting Action Report (form DD350) and the Federal Procurement Data System — Next Generation (FPDS-NG); performed tabulations to characterize the Air Force's experience with bid protests; and estimated statistical models that rely on the PACTS, DD350, and FPDS-NG databases. The likelihood of bidders' pursuing protests is shown to have been declining at a rate of about 8–9 percent per year, after controlling for other factors. This supports the authors' finding that the Air Force's experience with bid protests has been improving over time.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Bid Protest Patterns and Trends

  • Chapter Three

    Statistical Analysis of Bid Protest Trends

  • Chapter Four

    Summary and Conclusions

  • Appendix

    Data Used in the Analyses

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The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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