Veterans' contract opens for business

The long-awaited Veterans Technology Services governmentwide acquisition contract is open for business. The General Services Administration announced today that agencies can now place orders through the contract, which is known as VETS.

GSA awarded the contract to 43 technology companies in December. The department now has issued notices to proceed to all of them ? the formal step that means the contract is ready for use.

"This vitally important step signifies the VETS contract is ready for task orders to be placed," said GSA Administrator Lurita Doan. "GSA will begin a series of outreach opportunities and Contract Officer training to ensure we meet the demands of both our federal customers and these deserving service-disabled, veteran-owned companies."

VETS is for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. That category includes only former armed services members who suffered disabling injuries in the line of duty.

The contract provides information security, information systems engineering, systems operations and maintenance. The total value of the contract is capped at $5 billion. It could last for up to 10 years, with a five-year initial term and one five-year option period.

President Bush set a goal for agencies to conduct 3 percent of their federal contracting with such companies in a 2004 executive order. The same order called for the creation of a special GWAC to make it easier for agencies to identify and do business with qualified firms.

The contract did not come easily, however. GSA first planned to award it in June 2006, then pushed the date to October and then again to December.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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