NIH opens bidding for $40B IT services contract

10-year acquisition program targets agencies' IT needs for health care and other areas

The National Institutes of Health issued a solicitation Sept. 17 for the first part of the long-awaited $40 billion Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3 governmentwide IT contract.

CIO-SP 3, the successor to NIH's two current governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs), will support federal agencies' various IT needs. But it will have a particular emphasis on IT needs related to health care and clinical and biological research, according to the Federal Business Opportunities notice.

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The contract includes a full- and open-competition vehicle valued at $20 billion and a separate small business contract also valued at $20 billion, according to NIH.

A GWAC is a governmentwide indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract specifically for IT products and services. An agency must get clearance from the Office of Management and Budget before launching a GWAC. On IDIQs, a pool of companies are awarded places on the contract but still must compete for agencies' orders.

The just-released CIO-SP 3’s contract ceiling is estimated to be $20 billion, and a CIO-SP 3 GWAC just for small businesses will offer another $20 billion. The small business version has not been released yet, although officials expect to release it this month.

CIO-SP 3 is the follow-on contract for NIH’s current Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 2 Innovations, or CIO-SP2i, and the Image World 2 New Dimensions GWACs. Both are set to expire in December. However, NIH officials have said they likely will extend the two current GWACs for six months to allow for more time to award CIO-SP 3.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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