Bidding against an incumbent prime contractor often presents unique challenges. In some cases, the incumbent has been highly successful, and the procuring agency may hope to award the follow-on to the same company. Even if the agency is not predisposed to favor the incumbent, the incumbent often knows more than its challengers about how the new procurement will actually operate “in real life.”
But just because an incumbent has unique information about the ongoing procurement does not mean that the procuring agency is necessarily required to level the playing field by releasing that information to challengers. For instance, in one recent GAO bid protest decision, the GAO held that the procuring agency was not required to release the names of the incumbent’s subcontractors or other proprietary and confidential information about the incumbent contract.