SEWP stays with NASA; Doan upset by decision

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has cleared NASA to proceed with the next installment of its multibillion-dollar Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement, which the General Services Administration had hoped to take over.

SEWP IV will have a five-year duration and a ceiling of $6 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Under the new designation, SEWP IV will provide online tools and training to provide for agencies’ high-end solutions.

“NASA effectively leverages its in-house technical knowledge and management experience to provide the federal scientific community with timely access to the high-end IT product solutions they need at competitive prices and reasonable fees,” said OFPP administrator Paul Denett in a press release.

NASA has served as executive agent of SEWP since 1992. It currently manages the SEWP III governmentwide acquisition contract, which expires in January.

Lurita Doan, administrator of the General Services Administration, is disappointed with Denett’s decision, she said in a statement today.

Interest in the continuation of SEWP has swirled over the last several months as Doan has opposed leaving SEWP in NASA’s hands. Instead, she says it is GSA’s duty to oversee contract vehicles to avoid unnecessary duplication.

“It is clear that GSA is going to need to work harder to help the government understand how much taxpayer money is being wasted as a result of the wide proliferation of duplicative government contract vehicles,” Doan said.

In August, Doan said she wanted agencies to focus on their core missions and let GSA perform its mission of procurement. Handling SEWP diverts NASA’s resources from the agency’s primary purpose, she said. Doan has also talked about taking over other contract vehicles, such as the Homeland Security Department’s Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions contract.

“But a healthy amount of choice can provide appropriate incentives for managers of interagency contracts to be responsive to their customers,” Denett said Monday.

Doan is not done, though. “We will continue to highlight ways to reduce the proliferation of GWACs and ask the hard questions to ensure that, if they continue, they are in the best interest of the American taxpayer,” she said.

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