GSA may end GWAC era

Agency might also merge GWACs into the schedules program

The era of governmentwide acquisition contracts might be coming to a close at the General Services Administration.

Speaking at the Washington Technology Top 100 conference today, Ed O’Hare, assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said the only GWACs GSA will continue supporting are Alliant and Alliant Small Business or vehicles targeted to companies in specific socioeconomic categories, such as minority-owned businesses.

For the long term, GSA will likely merge the GWAC program with the schedules. “But that will take years, not months,” he added.

O’Hare said the merger of the procurement programs became a possibility after GSA combined the Federal Supply Service, which managed the schedules, and the Federal Technology Service, which managed GSA’s stable of GWAC contracts.

Phasing out GWACs was partly a response to criticism and a growing sense that there were too many GWACs, he said.

“We know that each GWAC is time-consuming and expensive to respond to,” he said.

GWACs that are expiring, such as Millennia Lite, will not be renewed. Instead, Alliant and Alliant Small Business will fill the void, O’Hare said. Those contracts have a $50 billion ceiling over 10 years, meaning they will still be in use through 2018.

O’Hare was part of a panel at the annual Top 100 conference. Moderated by Bill Gormley, president and chief executive officer of the Washington Management Group, the panel focused on whether the Obama administration is creating a new federal market.

Mike Fox, senior vice president of corporate strategic development at SRA International, voiced support for agency-specific multiple-award contracts.

“Those have real value because they are designed to meet specific agency needs,” he said. “But we don’t need GWACs with 50 or 60 winners. Then it looks just like a schedule.”

Lesley Field, deputy administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, also spoke about procurement reforms at the conference.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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Reader comments

Tue, Jul 7, 2009

Fewer GWAC's means more schedules will be used. Great. Because now to maintain a schedule is a NIGHTMARE with the lack of resources at GSA to help VAR's maintain their schedule. It took 4 months to complete a task the last time I had our rep at GSA update the schedule I was in charge of keeping updated. Efficient GSA is not... Keep the GWAC's because they work.

Fri, Jun 26, 2009 Rick S.

I always wondered why GWACs existed. Many of the solicitation steps taken when using a GWAC were exactly like using Schedules. A few GWACs were more streamlined such as the 8a STARS program but were limited in use to specific program types or project sizes. This does mean that the Market Research Phase to determine who can perform the task or project will take longer to perform. Also, does this mean GSA will stop using BPOs as well?

Thu, Jun 25, 2009 Peter G. Tuttle, CPCM

It will be interesting to see what the long-term impacts are of having fewer GWACS. I think the feedback will be mixed. Fewer GWACS translate into fewer choices for federal buyers and program offices, but fewer GWACS also mean less chances for abuse coupled with greater opportunity to compete work that should have really been competed in the first place. Small businesses may benefit from this. My hope is that the taxpayer will be the ultimate beneficiary of this potential reduction of available procurement tools. The jury, however, is out.

Wed, Jun 24, 2009

Sounds like a real shoot from the hip statement. O'Hare doesnt adequately justify the reasons why this strategy is good for the Govt... a cowboy on the loose at GSA

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