GSA's Millennia Contract: Four Task Orders and Counting

GSA's Millennia Contract: Four Task Orders and Counting

By Cindy L. O'Hara, Staff Writer



Six months after the General Services Administration awarded its $25 billion Millennia contract, information technology vendors are buzzing about how the federal agency has simplified the often complicated world of government contracting.

By relying heavily on oral presentations, the agency has accelerated the award process under the 10-year Millennia effort, which covers everything from software engineering and communications to systems integration, said Tim McCurdy, director of the GSA's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center.

As a result, four task order requests have been issued this year and a fifth is being evaluated, McCurdy said. Two to seven more task orders should be issued by year's end, followed by 25 to 35 in 2000, he added.

"I would believe that in the first year, the GSA will award $250 million to $500 million in task orders, and it will take off exponentially," said Bernie Cohen, senior director of business development with SRA International of Fairfax, Va.

With approximately $65 million worth of task orders awarded this year, Cohen may not be far off in his calculations.

Millennia is a follow-on to the GSA's $1.6 billion FedSIM 9600 contract. While most industry officials would deem FedSIM a success in terms of issuing awards, the agency wanted to streamline the process even further.

The first company to win a task order under the Millennia contract was Litton-PRC Inc. of McLean, Va. Awarded in early August and worth an estimated $22 million, the contract covers maintenance and enhancement of the Army's Personnel Electronic Records Management System.

Raytheon Systems Co., headquartered in Arlington, Va., received the second award in September. The task order is worth an estimated $13 million to support Colorado-based Peterson Air Force Base. SRA International won the third task order to provide systems integration services to the Army's Force Management Support Agency. That contract is worth an estimated $22 million.

The final task order was awarded recently to Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego as early as this week, is worth an estimated $8 million.

"The first year is just getting the word out, but I think you'll be in the billions in the second year, and it'll continue to grow," Cohen said.

Others agree.

"I think the contract is extremely flexible and provides a broad scope of work, so that a lot of different kinds of business can be contracted," said Jacqueline Jenkins, Millennia program manager for Unisys Corp., Blue Bell, Pa. "I think GSA brings a level of professionalism and skill to assist the client to whatever degree of service they need."

"Basically, this is a best-value vehicle," said Cathy Whelan, vice president of government agency information services for Litton-PRC. She pointed out that, traditionally, the process of issuing and awarding task orders has taken six to 12 months, but GSA has pared down the time to just weeks.

"Now customers can focus on solutions instead of focusing on the competitive process," she said.

McCurdy added that another important discriminator between Millennia and other contracts is that federal agencies pay only 1 percent to 2 percent of the total cost of using the contract vehicle, up to a maximum of $10,000.

After Jan. 1, 2000, however, the cap will inflate to $25,000, still quite low considering that, historically, agencies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on contract access fees.

The reason for the increase in the access fee, McCurdy said, was formulaic.

"During the first eight months, we were trying to promote the use of the [contract] vehicle and using it as an enticement to get people to sign up earlier rather than later," he said. He noted the agency also took into consideration the cost of putting the contract in place and the expected use of Millennia as reason to inflate what amounts to a user-access fee.

"This contract is especially competitive for anything over $2.5 million," said McCurdy. For example, he cited the first task order valued at $22 million, but which cost the agency only $10,000. "Any other contract vehicle would have cost $220,000 [to use]."

"Frankly, I think the message is for agencies to give serious consideration to GSA vehicles," said Howard Ady, Millennia program manager for OAO Corp. of Greenbelt, Md., adding that other federal agencies are realizing the tremendous advances made by GSA.

"Agency [chief information officers] and industry heads will be taking a hard look at how low the cost is for this contract, and I think it's going to become the IT vehicle for large engagements, where agencies need excellent solutions," he added.

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