GSA will merge six governmentwide contracts

With its new plan to merge the services of six governmentwide acquisition contracts into the Alliant procurement, the General Services Administration is upping the ante on its effort to eliminate duplicative GWACs.

GSA will merge some or all of the requirements of its Access Certificates for Electronic Services (ACES), Applications 'N Support for Widely Diverse End-User Requirements (ANSWER), Disaster Recovery, Millennia, Safeguard and Virtual Data Center GWACs into the future Alliant contract.

"We thought these services still were necessary so we included them in the contract," said Bill Archambeault, a GSA senior contracting officer in charge of Alliant. "We still need the Office of Management and Budget to approve our business case, but my intent is to do it this way."

The concept of merging some of the GWACs first came from a recommendation by a special contract review board. It had suggested the agency consider combining ANSWER and Millennia and letting eight other multiple award contracts expire.

Archambeault yesterday offered the first glimpse of GSA's plans for Alliant to a packed industry audience at an event hosted by the Industry Advisory Council.

Within the next few weeks, GSA will submit to OMB the business case for the 15-year contract, which will have a $150 billion ceiling. GSA plans to release a presolicitation notice later this month.

"My intent is to make this a performance-based contract with a maximum participation of small businesses," Archambeault said. "For now, we are taking a monolithic approach to the contract, where each awardee will be expected to fulfill the entire scope of the contract. But we are putting together a tiered approach if OMB wants a contract where industry partners can bid on certain parts of the contract they have an expertise in."

Archambeault expects to award 15 contracts under Alliant to large businesses and five to coalitions of small businesses. A coalition could be as few as two small companies, he said. He said GSA will view these coalitions as joint ventures rather than teams.

"I still have to discuss the way a coalition would work with the Small Business Administration," Archambeault said. "We also will expect large businesses to have small business subcontracting goals of at least 30 percent to 40 percent. We recognize we have not monitored the plans well in the past. The oversight for Alliant will be better."

Alliant's scope would cover 11 industry areas, such as computer systems design, facilities management, data processing and hosting, computer training, satellite telecommunications, cybersecurity and Web search portals.

GSA's plans call for releasing the request for proposals by June, accepting bids until September and awarding contracts in May 2005. Because GSA expects to receive more than 800 proposals, Archambeault said the agency will cull through the bids and ask a group of finalists to provide oral presentations.

"I tried to pick an award date that is the middle of all expiring contracts," Archambeault said. "The board said when the contracts expire they expire, but we still need those services so I wanted to get this out as early as possible."

GSA has set two industry days: in Oakland, Calif., on Feb. 18 and in Washington on March 29. For further information about the Alliant project, go to www.gsa.gov/alliant.

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