President signs GSA modernization bill

President Bush quietly signed a bill Oct. 6 that will reorganize the General Services Administration.

After oversight hearings spanning three Congresses and more than a year since the bill was introduced, GSA will be reorganized with a new supply fund and a restructured organization.

The GSA Modernization Act (H.R. 2066) establishes a Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and replaces the General Supply Fund and the Information Technology Fund with the Acquisition Service Fund.

GSA has already begun the transition to modernization. Administrator Lurita Doan appointed FAS Commissioner Jim Williams in June. Williams has presented his reorganization plan to Doan, and she is expected to discuss the finalized changes soon.

Industry leaders and government officials agree that GSA's prior structure does not fit the current trends in acquisitions.

In May 2005, the House passed the modernization. The Senate passed the bill Sept. 6.

GSA started to become a modern supplier of products following the passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act in 1996.

That legislation eliminated GSA's outdated centralized acquisition authority over IT. It also authorized a number of significant management innovations, including the use of governmentwide acquisition contracts, according to a House committee report on the bill.

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