There are three simple reasons to pursue an extended debriefing: (1) avoid protest litigation; (2) avoid mission disruption; and (3) become better prepared in the event that protest litigation proves to be unavoidable.
While some may believe that providing more information to an unsuccessful offeror increases the likelihood of a protest, the success stories demonstrate otherwise. Even where an unsuccessful offeror elects to submit a protest following an extended debriefing, the agency has found itself better poised to defend against that protest. Moreover, preparing for an extended debriefing enables the contracting officer, source selection team and their counsel to re-examine the decision-making process and ascertain if any critical mistakes exist. The extended debriefing also limits a protester’s ability to speculate about why it did not receive award because the protestor’s outside counsel has been given all the relevant facts during the extended debriefing. The extended debriefing frequently narrows the issues that can be protested.
In many cases, using an extended debriefing provides a win-win benefit for both the government and an unsuccessful offeror. Through this transparent process, the unsuccessful offeror is provided reassurance that its proposal was treated fairly and properly evaluated. The extended debriefing also provides for more efficient resolution of potential protest issues in a much shorter time frame than if the protester had proceeded to litigate at either the GAO or COFC. In turn, the government reaps huge rewards by avoiding protracted litigation and mission disruption, and by securing the protester’s confidence in the source selection evaluation and contract award process.