The number of protests filed with the Government Accountability Office rose to 2,475 in fiscal 2012, a 5 percent increase from the previous year, according to the agency’s annual report.

Still, the growth slowed from previous years. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of protests grew each year by double-digit percentages, including a dramatic 20 percent increase in fiscal 2009.

According to the GAO’s report, the percentage of protests sustained — or upheld — grew as well, reaching a rate of 18.6 percent. In fiscal 2011, the agency backed 16 percent of the protests it decided.

The agency’s “effectiveness rate” measures whether a protester sees some “relief,” which could mean that the GAO upholds the protest or could mean that the contracting agency takes steps without GAO intervention. The agency might, for example, open a new competition or reevaluate the proposals it received.

In fiscal 2012, the effectiveness rate was 42 percent, the same as in 2011.

GAO rejects Six3 protest

The Government Accountability Office earlier this month dismissed a protest filed by McLean-based Six3 Systems against a Defense Intelligence Agency award for an intelligence analysis support contract.

After receiving 30 proposals, DIA made the award to Reston-based L-3 Stratis, Alexandria-based Lockheed Martin and Reston-based Buffalo Group. But Six3, the GAO writes, argued that the agency did not treat its proposal the same as those of other companies and that DIA made a flawed determination.

“[W]e see no merit in Six3’s argument that the agency was required to consider its lower-priced, marginal-rated proposal for award,” the GAO wrote, rejecting all of the company’s arguments.

Salient buys List Innovative Solutions

Fairfax-based contractor Salient Federal Solutions last week bought Herndon-based woman-owned small business List Innovative Solutions as part of its bid to become a mid-tier contractor.

The move follows Salient’s purchase of McLean-based ATS Corp. earlier this year.

“We’re continuing to look for good companies that round out our capabilities, our contracts and our customer access,” said Brad Antle, Salient’s chief executive. He said Salient is not disclosing the price it paid for List.

List, which has about $25 million in revenue, provides IT, engineering and intelligence analytics services to federal agencies.

Before buying List, about 70 percent of Salient’s work was in defense and intelligence and about 27 percent federal civilian (about 2 percent is commercial). List will shift that balance to 63 percent defense and 35 percent civilian.

The purchase is meant to give Salient access to buying agreements with the Office of Personnel Management and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.