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Competitive range determination

Competitive range means the submissions that have met the stated evaluation criteria and therefore are susceptible to award. Therefore this is the determination of companies which can perform a certain work which needs to be done mostly by the government and they are all put into one pool referred to competitive range. This is a common practice in federal government biding. This exercise is a crucial one in the bidding process. Through this, the companies or groups that can carry out a particular government task are determined and decided upon. This exercise determines which companies or groups qualify to do a particular job by selecting proposals that are best written and have content necessary for that particular job.

It is always a tough process as everyone wants to be considered, especially if the numbers of companies desiring to do a particular government activity are many and capable. This is what causes the competitive range determination process to take place. This process involves determining the best companies qualified by comparing each of their proposals to the stated evaluation criteria. The sole purpose of this whole process is to come up with the best company which can be entrusted to perform a government job and do it correctly; therefore, this process is thorough and makes sure that the competitive range group only remains with the best and the most qualified groups or individuals to run the government job (Office, U. S. G. A. (n.d.). 

Another objective of this process, to a certain degree though not explicitly brought out, is the determination of the companies that are good enough in some regions of practice. With time later in the future, there can be recommendations for good quality services that they offer. This goes ahead into making the name of the company good, and therefore even if a company is not considered for a particular job, they may take their application as a type of marketing, or they may take precautionary steps like applying for bid protest to make sure that they disapprove the decision of the committee that was charged with the process of coming up with the competitive range. Once this is successful, which gets to happen very few times, the committee has to redo the work and re-plan or re-write their evaluation criteria. This has to be done to fit into the standard, following their ability to determine a particular company as good enough to do the work needed.

The determination of a competitive range begins with the public announcement of a government project which needs companies sending in their applications to bid. Upon this document, a decision towards those who fall under competitive range or not begins, and the results are made public at the end of the comparison which is against the required qualities and characteristics of the ideal company for the government task at hand. The preliminary activities and documents are the proposals. The agency secretary comes up with everything needed for the determination. However, if the proposals are not many, there might not be a determination process. Still, if the proposals are many and the number of proposers has to be minimized, then this is when a competitive range determination takes place (Barry, 1993). 

After everything is ready, and the criteria for selection of the competitive range are determined. The proposals presented are passed through a panel to determine and look at a close relationship between the proposals and the company’s ideal qualities and characteristics. If a proposal displays proximity towards being able to do what is required, then the proposal is slated in the option of being inside the competitive range. However, if the proposal does not qualify to be under the ideal one, it is slated out. After this process, the communication is made in writing to the companies that did not make it to the competitive range area. The companies, after receiving this communication, might be willing to accept the situation, or otherwise, they may wish to file a bid protest which is a protest against what the board or the committee has decided, and this, if at all acceptable, might make the board or the committee repeat the whole process.

A bid protest is not always easy to succeed. Therefore, most of the time, companies are advised to leave it after receiving communication from the agency secretary. It is always challenging for it to be successful because the company has to clearly show that the agency never followed the law in the determination, and this is always put under check when the bids are being cross-checked against the ideal situation. Even though charged with the work of determining the competitive range, the contracting officer does not have a lot of freedom since it is something to do with service and quality. Therefore the agent has to make sure that the best company is the one that is hired and not the one they have in mind of the one they think can do the work best.

When making the evaluation criteria the contracting officer has the freedom to come up with factors to include in the criteria which will make the determination process arrive at the required results. For example, if the company being looked for has a capital base of about 500 million US dollars then this will be a distinguishing factor that the officer has to put down. Therefore we can say that the officers are free to come up with any criteria as long as it upholds the law and it is directed towards getting the perfect company to carry out a government task.

Even though it is a tough thing to happen, sometimes the companies or firms may win against GAO. In the case of Pinnacle Sols., Inc. B-414360 of 2017 which was a bid protest, this company won and GAO agreed with the company in that the evaluation process was based on unstated evaluation criteria. This forced the United States government accountability office to repeat the process with more clarity and focus. Another example is the caterpillar tractor company case of 1983 whereby the company accuses GAO of offering a contract to a company that is not qualified.

Therefore, in conclusion, it is true that the government has strict ways of determining who is supposed to do specific jobs for them, and it is this criterion that is used to determine the company most suited to do a specific job for the government through the process of determination of competitive range.


Search Bid Protest Decisions & Docket. (2019).

‌Office, U. S. G. A. (n.d.). What GAO Does.

‌BE, S. N. (2017). Government Accountability Office.

Barry, C. B. (1993). Contracting by Competitive Negotiations in Support of FMS. DEFENSE INST OF SECURITY ASSISTANCE MANAGEMENT WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH.