DOD expands use of Alliant
Navy's endorsement of Alliant greases wheels for more DOD use
The Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) is fast becoming an important vehicle for helping Department of Defense (DOD) agencies acquire needed technology solutions and services. Not only is the Air Force already one of the top users of the contract, but the Navy recently has identified Alliant and Alliant Small Business as candidates for the Navy’s Strategic Sourcing initiative aimed at reducing costs, increasing competition and streamlining the acquisition of IT services. This policy would encourage Navy acquisition personnel to use Alliant and Alliant SB, along with the service’s own Navy SeaPort-e contract, rather than creating their own contracts, when acquiring IT services.
“One of the primary recommendations from the recent IT services Strategic Sourcing effort was to increase the utilization of existing contract vehicles for general IT development and support services to generate greater competition while reducing acquisition cycle time,” said Floyd Groce, director of enterprise commercial IT strategy in the Office of the Navy CIO. Groce, who has been involved in developing the Navy’s Strategic Sourcing plan, said the Navy will provide its personnel with “awareness, guidance and training on the GSA Alliant/Alliant SB GWAC vehicle and other recommended contract vehicles.”
DOD acquisition policy already allows Defense organizations to directly use Alliant and other non-DOD GWACs. Nevertheless, some acquisition personnel don’t know about the policy and so are reluctant to use contracting vehicles outside of their particular service. Thus, a Navy endorsement of Alliant for strategic sourcing would be very significant, said Mike Canales, a senior analyst in the office of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP).
“A lot of times, organizations want a stamp of approval from their service leadership,” said Canales, who advises Defense organizations on interagency acquisition issues. “It’s easier for people at a lower level to use Alliant when the highest level of the Navy has endorsed it.”
Canales said current DOD policy encourages the use of non-DOD contract vehicles and the associated services of non-DOD agencies as long as they meet three main criteria:
The contract is deemed in the best interest of the department.The contract can meet the organization’s schedule, scope and performance requirements.The requirements fit within the scope of the contract. Canales said that contracting vehicles such as Alliant can save DOD agencies time and resources.“If you don’t have to write a unique contract, why spend the time to do it?” he asked. “You will get to the end game much quicker and at less cost for everybody at an administrative level — and with competition.”
GSA officials regard the Navy’s Strategic Sourcing initiative as an important step for Alliant. “We worked really hard with the Navy to explain the benefits the service would garner by using the Alliant contract,” said Mary Davie, assistant commissioner for GSA’s Office of Integrated Technology Services.
Through mid-March of 2011, the Navy had conducted just $109 million in business through Alliant, compared to $423 million for the Army and $994 million for the Air Force.
Although the Navy is still implementing its strategic sourcing policy and developing specific guidance on using Alliant and Alliant SB, Navy acquisition personnel have begun training to use the contracts. More than 130 Navy people were trained in just the past month, said Alliant Program Manager Casey Kelley.
“We are already seeing more statements of work coming in from the Navy, and we expect the number to continue growing,” Kelley said.
Canales also expects to see increased Defense business for Alliant. Canales emphasizes that the department does not endorse one vehicle over another but just tries to make sure that DOD agencies are aware of their contracting options. But he said the Alliant team has done very well in its outreach to DOD agencies.
“Alliant is doing a good job of making senior leadership within the military departments and defense agencies aware of the vehicle,” Canales said, adding that “once agencies find Alliant and understand how it operates, the customers are very happy.”