Vendors face performance, small-biz goals on Alliant

Alliant contract breakdown

  • 15-year contract, five years with two five-year options

  • $150 billion ceiling

  • 20 prime contractors. Twenty-five percent of the awards are reserved for small businesses or teams of small businesses.

  • 30 percent to 40 percent small-business subcontracting goals for large businesses

  • 11 industry areas covered: computer systems design, custom programming, facilities management, training, data processing and hosting, satellite telecommunications, other telecommunications, Internet service providers, cybersecurity, Web search portals and other computer-related services

  • June request for proposals expected

  • September deadline for bids

  • May 2005 GSA will award the contracts

  • 800 proposals expected by GSA

  • Feb. 18 and March 29, industry days in Oakland, Calif., and Washington, respectively

  • Web site:

Get it right or get out -- that's the message to vendors from GSA's Federal Technology Service on the upcoming $150 billion Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract.

Bill Archambeault, a General Services Administration senior contracting officer in charge of Alliant, earlier this month said FTS will do a better job of making sure companies meet the goals established in the contract and satisfy agency requirements.

"After the first five years and every two years after that, we will decide how companies are performing. If they are not, we will kick them off," he said at an event hosted by the Industry Advisory Council. "During open season, we will replace companies that are kicked off, so we keep the number of prime contractors constant."

GSA will merge some or all of the requirements for six technology GWACS into the Alliant contract. Those GWACS are Access Certificates for Electronic Services, Applications 'N Support for Widely Diverse End-User Requirements (Answer), Disaster Recovery, Millennia, Safeguard and Virtual Data Center.

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

Within the next few weeks, GSA will submit to OMB the business case for the 15-year contract. GSA plans to release a pre-solicitation notice later this month.

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.

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

GSA also will scrutinize how much work large businesses subcontract to small ones. Large firms will have subcontracting goals of at least 30 percent to 40 percent, he said. "We recognize we have not monitored the plans well in the past," Archambeault said. "The oversight for Alliant will be better."

GSA also will put in place procedures to monitor contract bundling and to make sure agencies receive enough competitive proposals for each task order.

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 identify the strongest bids and ask finalists for 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."

Jason Miller is a staff writer with Government Computer News. He can be reached at

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