It is the policy of the United States Coast Guard to issue solicitations and make contract awards in a fair and timely manner. Parties who believe a specific procurement is unfair or otherwise defective are encouraged to use the Coast Guard Ombudsman Program for Agency Protests (OPAP), rather than filing a protest with the General Accounting Office (GAO) or other external forum. The OPAP is designed to resolve contractor protests in a faster, less expensive manner. Concerns of interested parties can be resolved through independent, government binding adjudication taking place outside the procuring activity's chain of command.
Interested parties may seek resolution of their concerns informally or opt to file a formal agency protest with the contracting officer or Ombudsman.
Interested parties should first direct their concerns to the responsible contracting officer. If the contracting officer is unable to satisfy the concerns, the interested party is encouraged to contact the OPAP. Under this informal process, the agency is not required to suspend contract award performance. In order to ensure a timely response, interested parties should provide the following information: solicitation/contract number, contracting office, contracting officer, and solicitation closing date (if applicable).
Prior to submitting a formal agency protest, protesters must first use their best efforts to resolve their concerns with the contracting officer through open and frank discussions. If the protester’s concerns are unresolved, the protester may file a formal agency protest with the contracting officer or the OPAP program. Contract award or performance will be suspended during the protest period unless contract award or performance is justified, in writing, for urgent and compelling reasons or is determined to be in the best interest of the government. The agency’s goal is to resolve protests in less than 35 calendar days from the date of filing. If the protester fails to submit the required information, as outlined in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 33.103, resolution of the protest may be delayed or the protest may be dismissed. To be timely, protests must be filed within the period specified in FAR 33.103(e).
Formal protests filed under the OPAP program should be submitted to:
Department of Homeland Security
United States Coast Guard (CG-9131)
Ombudsman Program for Agency Protests
1900 Half Street, SW, Room 11-0602
Washington, D. C. 20593-0001