IT services fall to large firms

Large businesses get the lion's share of federal information technology services contracts, according to a General Accounting Office study.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the Government Reform Committee asked GAO to provide the information.

In 2001, the last year for which GAO had figures, large businesses took 62 percent of the $17 billion that the government spent on IT services. Small businesses got 14 percent of the total, medium-size firms got 21 percent.

GAO also found that the purchase of IT services through the General Services Administration's schedule system soared from $405 million to $4.3 billion from 1997 through 2001.

Davis plans to soon re-introduce the Services Acquisition Reform Act, which he first proposed in March 2002.

William Woods, GAO's director of acquisition and sourcing management, compiled the information in a letter to Davis sent in mid-February. As it often does, GAO agreed to not distribute the letter until 30 days from its issue date.

Total spending on IT services rose from $9.1 billion to $17.1 billion, an 87 percent increase, during the same period.

GAO used the Small Business Administration's definition — annual revenues up to $21 million — to delineate small companies, then chose $500 million as an arbitrary minimum revenue for large companies. It defined medium-size companies as falling between $21 million and $500 million.

Woods offered no specific recommendations in the letter.


  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.