GSA readies Alliant governmentwide contract

The General Services Administration early next year will release more details of its plan to create a new broad-based information technology vehicle.

The vehicle, a governmentwide acquisition contract called Alliant, will be formed from the merger of GSA's Answer and Millennia contracts, which are large GWACs whose offerings sometimes overlapped, according to GSA official Neal Fox.

"We intend to take the best provisions of both vehicles," said Fox, assistant commissioner in the Office of Commercial Acquisition at GSA's Federal Supply Service. He said contractors will be invited to comment on GSA's plans.

Alliant, a multiyear, multibillion-dollar contract, will be awarded in early 2006, Fox said. He spoke at a meeting Nov. 19 of the Industry Advisory Council, a group of government IT contractors representing more than 400 companies.

The Answer-Millennia merger is one of several moves GSA is making to eliminate overlap among its GWACs. The agency will also let expire six of its government-wide acquisition contracts for information technology, and is considering discontinuing two more, agency officials said in September.

Despite the discontinuations, GSA remains a strong proponent of GWACs, and is expecting continued strong growth in sales under the vehicles, Fox said. IT sales under GSA's GWACs have risen from $650 million in 2000 to $2.9 billion in 2003, he said.

The contract eliminations were recommended by the IT Contract Vehicle Review Board, a panel of GSA officials convened in December 2002 to review the GWACs for overlap. The panel included three representatives from the Federal Technology Service, three from the Federal Supply Service and one from the Office of Governmentwide Policy.

They unanimously recommended that these eight specialty GWAC vehicles be allowed to expire: Access Certificates for Electronic Services, Disaster Recovery, Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, Reverse Auctions, Safeguard, Seat Management, Smart Card and Virtual Data Centers. The contracts expire between October 2002 and June 2008.

The Disaster Recovery, Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, Reverse Auctions, Safeguard, Seat Management and Virtual Data Centers contracts will not be recompeted.

But because eliminating the Smart Card and ACES contracts could affect efforts to implement governmentwide standards, GSA Administrator Stephen Perry said the agency would conduct another review before making a final decision about the two vehicles.

GSA official Keith Sandridge said agencies and contractors were consulted before the decisions were made. The contracts were reviewed for their cost, revenue, usage, terms and conditions and overlap with other GSA vehicles, said Sandridge, acting assistant commissioner for acquisition at GSA's Federal Technology Service.

Many of the GWACs that will be axed had less than 10 task orders issued against them, Fox said.

"There were valiant efforts to get folks to go to well-constructed vehicles like Seat Management, but customers didn't flock to it," Fox said.

Eliminating the little-used vehicles will save contractors bid-and-proposal dollars and money spent on special accounting systems, Fox said. Contractors with positions on the specialty vehicles will have to move their sales to GSA's schedules, he said.

"All the specialty requirements can be met on the schedules," he said.

GSA's approach makes sense, said David Nadler, partner with Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky LLP in Washington.

"If the products and services are available elsewhere and the costs of specialty vehicles can be avoided, it makes sense from a business perspective," said Nadler, co-chairman of the Industry Advisory Council's GWAC interest group. "They are making a good business case." *

Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery can be reached at gemery@postnewsweektech.com.

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