A number of our readers have e-mailed us asking what to expect on June 19. While we do not know the GAO's decision, we do have a good idea of how the decision will be announced and how much information will be initially available.
The first thing to understand is that unlike when DoD announces a major contract decision, the GAO does not hold press conferences for their bid protest decisions. Instead, the GAO will normally issue a simple press release stating their determination. Here is a recent example.
The full scope and details behind the bid protest decision will not normally be immediately released, since it contains proprietary and source selection sensitive information. These details will only be avalible to the counsels for the protester and intervenor admitted under the GAO protective order issued for the protest and to the Air Force.
So while the decision will immediately apparent, the reasoning behind it will not.
The GAO normally releases a public version of the bid protest decision a number of weeks later after receiving suggested redactions from the parties involved. The public version of the tanker contract bid protest decision will look similar to this recent case.
Due to the magnitude of the tanker decision we fully expect both companies will receive an advanced notice of the decision about an hour prior to the GAO's press release. Both companies respective PR departments already have several press release ready to go to fit a number of decision results. But, don't expect any concession speeches; the tanker contract war will probably only heat up.
Also, during this advance notice time we expect each company will call its Hill supporters to break the good, bad, or mixed result news. We will see which of us can keep a secret for an hour...
Note: Please remember that June 19th is only the deadline for the ruling, it is not a set date to issue the decision. In fact, the GAO has probably already completed their determination and we fully expect their decision at any time in the next 48 hours.