Conference: Acquisition concerns all agencies

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. ? Acquisition is an issue for all agencies to worry about, and a number are undertaking efforts to improve their technologies and business practices.

Michael Sade, assistant commissioner of the Office of Acquisition Management in the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service, said GSA's Integrated Acquisition Environment is an effort to enable the acquisition workforce to be more effective.

"We like to talk about acquisition as a horizontal function across government," said Sade, speaking as a panelist at the Executive Leadership Conference. Before launching IAE, GSA maintained separate systems for its various acquisition programs. Now the agency is trying to merge them.

The agency wants to develop systems that other agencies can use. GSA has already created a version of its Advantage! electronic commerce system tailored to the Air Force, Sade said.

Agencies are still hampered by an aversion to risk, which becomes more pronounced in times when inspectors general or members of Congress are being particularly meticulous in their oversight, according to some at the conference.

Phil Kiviat, a partner at consulting firm Guerra Kiviat, said GSA has done a good job internally. The difficulty is going to be in getting other agencies to join in.

"It's a great, great idea. It's real progress," he said. "But there's no interagency money."

The American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council host ELC annually to bring together top government and business leaders.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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