A protest by a losing bidder has put on hold the contract to consolidate and upgrade the Army Knowledge Online portal.

CherryRoad Technologies Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., filed a protest last week with the Government Accountability Office regarding the Army's $152 million award to Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda for the management of its enterprise Web portal.

Lockheed Martin won the seven-year contract earlier this month and was expected to take over management of the portal Oct. 1. Army Knowledge Online has 1.8 million users.

The AKO portal, which was created in 1999, is an intranet, a private network that uses Internet protocols and Web browsers. The site is a single point of entry to a variety of features and links, including e-mail, distance learning and training opportunities. The site also has a worldwide people-locator service for anyone with an AKO account and a highly restricted repository for sensitive and classified information. AKO users log on to the portal roughly half a million times a day, officials said.

CherryRoad was one of seven incumbent contractors that had helped develop and support AKO since 2002. The Lockheed Martin contract was to consolidate the work of those seven contracts under a single, prime contractor.

"We have no comment other than we filed [the] protest and we are confident on our position," said Debbie Yobbs, spokeswoman for CherryRoad.

The GAO said that CherryRoad claims the Army misevaluated Lockheed's proposal.

"We are aware of the protest, but we do not generally comment on contract protest matters," said Matt Kramer, a Lockheed Martin spokesman. "We are honored to have been selected by the Army to lead the AKO Enterprise Services program, and we stand ready to support our Army customer."

Lockheed Martin's team includes Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif., and Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego.

The Army did not return a call for comment on the protest.

The GAO has 100 days to rule on the protest, and then the Army must decide whether to follow whatever the audit agency recommends. One such recommendation could be to reopen the contract to bidders.

In other contracting news, the recent protest of a General Services Administration contract to Symplicity Corp. of Arlington resulted in GSA reopening that contract on July 11. Symplicity had won a $17.4 million contract to revamp GSA's contracting Web site Fedbizopps.gov.

Two losing bidders complained that GSA did not fairly evaluate their bids. But the GAO dismissed the protests after the agency decided to reopen the competition before the GAO ruled on it.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor with Government Computer News. For more on this and other topics concerning technology in government, go to www.gcn.com.