Week in Review

GWACs: Let the debate begin

GWACs: Let the debate begin
Lurita Doan certainly has gotten everyone's attention. The administrator at the General Services Administration has made it known that she believes her agency should be managing most governmentwide acquisition contracts. One case in point is NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement contract, one of the oldest and most popular GWACs.

In an interview with Federal Computer Week, Doan pointed out that managing information technology product contracts is not part of NASA's core mission. GSA, on the other hand, is in the governmentwide contracting business.

That simple proposition raises all sorts of questions. Many people ask how Doan could even think about handling more work at such an early stage of GSA's rebuilding process. GSA officials are working hard to win back the confidence of the Defense Department and other customers, but that process is far from complete.

Putting aside concerns about the state of GSA, some people also question Doan's central premise. Should GSA manage the GWACs? Perhaps Doan is not out of line to raise the issue of core mission. But many procurement experts would hate to lose the competitive environment that comes from having different agencies running GWACs. Contracting shops at NASA and the National Institutes of Health will keep the heat on GSA and ensure a high level of customer service, they say.

Nevertheless, you have to say this for Doan: Under her leadership, GSA may still be doubted, but it will not ignored.

Other noteworthy news
Alan Balutis, president of government strategies at Input since January 2005, announced he is leaving the company.... Requiring secure identification documents will not provide sufficient border security if other basic procedural weaknesses are not addressed, congressional auditors reported.... The Homeland Security Department's inspector general told DHS it must address information systems management problems before issuing biometric-based identification cards to transportation workers nationwide.... Minnesota's Office of the Revisor of Statutes is producing legislative documents with Extensible Markup Language-based publishing software from Arbortext after phasing out its mainframe system a year ago.... A Senate authorization bill would require every business that qualifies as a small business to certify its size and small-business status yearly.... Knowledge Consulting Group, a small information technology services firm, won a five-year, $20 million blanket purchase agreement to provide information security services to the Transportation Security Administration.... The administrator at the General Services Administration, Lurita Doan, said she would like GSA to assume management responsibility for NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement contract.... Flaws in device drivers could allow unauthorized access to Apple's MacBook and other wireless laptop computers, security experts demonstrated at the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas.... The National Institute of Standards and Technology released an open-source middleware kit for developing biometric applications that are interoperable.... A configuration problem with a new Federal Aviation Administration telecommunications system caused dozens of delayed departures at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.... The Army awarded a $3.8 million contract to 3M to use radio frequency identification technology for locating paper medical files at Fort Hood, Texas.... Several federal agencies have failed to complete important steps to transition to IPv6, according to congressional auditors.... NIST released two special publications to help agencies create interoperable personal identity verification cards for federal employees and contractors.... The Senate increased the E-Government Fund's spending ceiling to $5 million for fiscal 2007, matching the president¹s budget request, after the House had lowered the amount to $3 million.... The Department of Veterans Affairs led all other federal agencies by awarding 2.15 percent of its contracts to small businesses in fiscal 2005.

A roundup of the week's news, complete with links to the original stories, can be found on FCW.com Download's Week in Review at www.fcw.com/download.





GAO: Agencies lag in IPv6 transition [FCW.com, July 31, 2006]

NIST releases PIV-card related publications [FCW.com, July 31, 2006]

Senate gives $5 million to e-government fund [FCW.com, July 31, 2006]

VA leads in small-biz contracts [FCW.com, July 31, 2006]

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