CONTRACTING

Bureau of Indian Affairs developing new multiple award vehicle

NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.

The Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs IT wants to create a computer and IT equipment buying contract to help the four component agencies it serves meet requirements of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) and set-aside needs.

In an early January solicitation, the Interior Department's Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT) said it wants to set up an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with a $60 million ceiling over five year to buy potentially thousands of endpoint computers and printers.

The contract will support Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Special Trustee. The four agencies provide services, including legal, trust and field operations services to almost 600 federally recognized tribes across the country through 12 regional offices, according to the agency.

The OIMT said it doesn't know exactly how many computers it might buy through the IDIQ, but the four baseline agencies it used to gauge its needs currently have 23,000 desktop computers among them.

OIMT said it had been using NASA's Services for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) governmentwide acquisition contract to buy primarily Dell laptops and desktop computers, as well as HP network printers. Its component operations, it said, had also traditionally bought similar equipment in a "fragmented and inefficient manner" that conflicted with FITARA rules and federal category management practices.

Even though SEWP offered to bring some of that disorganized buying into line, the NASA GWAC had an inherent flaw for the agency. It doesn't offer a "Buy Indian" set aside.

The 2013 Buy Indian Act spurred the agency to maximize the use business owned and controlled by Indians.

"It is the intent of [Indian Affairs] to develop an IDIQ that complies with the Buy Indian Act," the solicitation stated.

SEWP Program Manager Joanne Woytek told FCW that it was correct that there is no Buy-Indian set-aside in the procurement vehicle. "Any new set-aside option would have to be included within a future iteration of the SEWP contracts, and we will certainly consider this when that process begins in a few years," she said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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