VA starts tech buying service

BuyIT.gov

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The Veterans Affairs Department today is launching BuyIT.gov, a new program for buying information technology products and services for agencies. The fee-for-service program will be similar to the one that the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service runs.

VA officials want to make the BuyIT.gov "the IT acquisition service provider of choice for the federal government," said David Peterson, program manager for BuyIT.gov. Officials from VA's Austin Automation Center, in Austin, Tex., will run the program. The acquisition workforce will buy IT for agencies through VA's own Global Information Technology Support Services (GITSS) contracts or other contract vehicles, such as the GSA schedules.

Peterson said the service will sometimes compete with FTS and sometimes will complement it. FTS and VA have signed an agreement through which FTS can use the GITSS contract for its own customers, a GSA spokesperson added.

"There's plenty of room for good acquisition service providers," Peterson said. "Because of the unique skills and capabilities that we can bring, we feel we can help other government agencies."

BuyIT.gov customers will pay a fee of 2 percent for orders placed against existing contracts, or 3 percent for open competitions. The program, like FTS, will get no appropriated funds -- the fees will cover its expenses. VA is starting a marketing campaign this week to make agencies aware of the program, Peterson said.

A GSA spokesperson said the two agencies work together.

FTS "has a positive working relationship with [VA's] new initiative," the spokesperson said in a written statement. "We welcome their entry to the federal marketplace and are confident that agency customers and the American taxpayer will be the true beneficiaries of this effort."

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