GSA not shy about SEWP orders

The General Services Administration is one of the biggest customers for NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement III contract, which GSA Administrator Lurita Doan has criticized as unnecessarily duplicative and which she is hoping to bring under her agency's purview.

In fiscal 2005, GSA spent more than $477 million through the SEWP III governmentwide acquisition contract, second only to the entire Defense Department, which spent almost $508 million, according to an annual GWAC activity report obtained by Federal Computer Week.

Overall, SEWP III did $3.5 billion in business, a 10 percent increase compared with fiscal 2004 data, the report states.

Earlier this year, Doan began campaigning to take over SEWP, saying GSA is the most logical choice for managing GWACs focused on commodity products and services. Doan believes SEWP III and similar agency-run contracts simply duplicate GSA’s business.

Some market observers say the government benefits from the competition created by overlapping contracts, but Doan rejects that notion.

“If you think that’s competition, then you have totally misunderstood what competition is about,” she said in response to a question asked by FCW Media Group Publisher Anne Armstrong about contract competition at an American Council on Technology/Industry Advisory Council event Sept. 27.

NASA has a greater role than buying computers, Doan said. NASA should “focus on the truly grand mission of getting another guy on the moon or going out to space or getting our Hubble telescope to work again.… These are important things for our morale and our spirit as Americans.”

Doan said she has asked the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to deny NASA’s request to start SEWP IV. She added that OFPP Administrator Paul Denett has requested additional information from NASA.

“I do think he wants to make a judicious decision,” Doan said. “To me, there is only one decision, so my life is very simple.”

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