GSA to nix six IT procurement vehicles

Governmentwide contracts focus of consolidation<@VM>GWACS on the way out

The sun is setting on multiple-award, governmentwide acquisition contracts that provide niche IT services.

After establishing more than 25 GWACs over the last 10 years, the General Services Administration has decided to let at least six of these contract vehicles expire.

Sandra Bates, commissioner of the Federal Technology Service, said none of the GWACs failed, but they are no longer useful.

"They put certain subjects in the spotlight, like data center consolidation and seat management, that we needed to discuss as a government. They served their purpose, and maybe it is time for them to go away," she said.

The contracts GSA will eliminate are Disaster Recovery Services, Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, Reverse Auctions, Safeguard, Seat Management and Virtual Data Center Services.

GSA also may discontinue two more GWACs: Access Certificates for Electronic Services and Smart Card.

The eight contracts expire between October 2003 and June 2008.

A panel of GSA officials reviewed the agency's contracts for overlap and redundancy earlier this year. The panel, called the IT Contract Vehicle Review Board, unanimously said the agency is running too many GWACs and should eliminate the eight niche vehicles.

GSA created the board after a June 2002 report from Accenture LLP of Hamilton, Bermuda, recommended the agency consolidate some operations of FSS and FTS. The board also recommended to GSA Administrator Stephen Perry that the agency consider merging two of its largest GWACs, the broad-based Millennia and Answer.

Perry said the two vehicles overlap significantly, and GSA is working on a merger. In the meantime, performance will continue on tasks awarded under the two vehicles, he said.

GSA is cutting "needless duplication and contract vehicles that weren't generating the business anyone had envisioned them to," said Larry Allen, executive vice president for the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington industry association.

At a hearing before the House Government Reform Committee earlier this month, Perry said the six GWACs will not be recompeted. No orders under these vehicles will be allowed to extend beyond the end of the contract period, he said.

While the Smart Card and ACES contracts also duplicate offerings elsewhere in the GWACs or schedules contracts, "their elimination could affect efforts to implement governmentwide standards," Perry told the committee. He said GSA will conduct another review before making a final decision about Smart Card and ACES.

The contract consolidation will bring more work to GSA's broad-based IT GWACs, such as Millennia and Answer. It should save money for both government and industry, Perry said.

Because GSA will no longer manage six contract vehicles, its staff can be reassigned with the goal of improving contract management and customer satisfaction, and reducing GSA and vendor costs, Perry said. IT companies will no longer have to compete multiple times for similar opportunities, he said.

Some contractors could be hurt by the phase out, however, said attorney David Nadler, a partner with Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky LLP in Washington.

"Unless some of the niche players can reposition themselves, they could be left out in the cold," said Nadler, co-chairman of the Industry Advisory Council's GWAC interest group.

"You're going to see a fair amount of realignment," he said. "You're going to have a lot of niche players looking to team or broaden their capabilities, and you're also going to see larger GWAC holders reaching out to some of the niche players currently working under the niche contracts."

Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery can be reached at gemery@postnewsweektech.com. Jason Miller is a staff writer for Government Computer News and can be reached at jmiller@postnewsweektech.com.
On the chopping block

Disaster Recovery Services

This contract for computing and communications recovery services has a $150 million ceiling. The contract review board recommended that it be extended for six months to March 28, 2004; it will not be recompeted. The contractors are IBM Corp. and SunGard Recovery Services Inc.

Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA

This contract for desktop hardware, software and management support services has a $13 billion ceiling. It expires June 30, 2007; the memorandum of understanding with NASA will not be renewed. The contractors are Computer Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and DigitalNet Inc.

Reverse Auctions

This contract for off-the-shelf solutions for a Web-based reverse auction service has a $20 million ceiling. It will expire July 24, 2004. The contractors are B2e Markets Inc., Computer Information Specialist, Global eProcure and Orbis Online Inc.

Safeguard

This contract for information security services expired Sept. 30. It was worth $250 million. The contractors were Affiliated Computer Services Inc., Anteon International Corp., AT&T Corp., BBNT Solutions LLC, BearingPoint Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., CACI International Inc., Collins Consulting Group, CSC, Electronic Data Systems Corp., Electronic Warfare Associates, IBM, L & E Associates Inc., Lockheed Martin, NCS Pearson Inc., Northrop Grumman, SAIC, SRA International Inc., STG Inc., Telos Corp., Titan Corp. and Unisys Corp.

Seat Management

This contract for management, operation and maintenance of desktop computers and their associated network infrastructures has a $9 billion ceiling. The review board recommended that new orders be issued only if the performance period ends by June 30, 2008; the contract will not be recompeted. The contractors are CSC, EER Systems Inc., IBM, Multimax Inc., Northrop Grumman, SAIC and DigitalNet.

Virtual Data Center Services

This contract for data processing and support services at the contractors' outsourcing centers has a $6 billion ceiling. The review board recommended that new orders be issued only if the performance period ends by Feb. 17, 2007; the contract will not be recompeted. The contractors are CSC, SunGard and Unisys.

Next in line?

Access Certificates for Electronic Services

This contract for digital certificates has a $600 million ceiling. It expires in September 2005. The contractors are AT&T Digital Signature Trust Co. and Operational Research Consultants Inc.

Smart Card

This contract for products and services used when agencies implement smart cards has a $1.5 billion ceiling. It expires in May 2010. The review board recommended that new orders be issued only if the performance period ends by May 2006. The contractors are BearingPoint, EDS, Maximus Inc. and Northrop Grumman.

Facing a merger

Answer

This contract for IT support services such as design research, analysis and definition, system development, software maintenance and facilities management support services is worth up to $25 billion. It expires Dec. 30, 2008. The contractors are Anteon, Booz Allen Hamilton, CSC, EER Systems, Information Systems Support Inc., ITS Corp., Northrop Grumman and SAIC.

Millennia

This contract for large IT projects requiring services such as software engineering, communications systems design and implementation and systems integration is worth up to $25 billion. It expires April 30, 2009. The contractors are Booz Allen Hamilton, CSC, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Co., SAIC, SRA and Unisys.

Sources: GSA, Input Inc.

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