Moran: GSA is contracting's short-term fix

The General Services Administration may have good news coming its way.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said GSA is the short-term fix for an acquisition workforce  short on people and expertise. He plans to strongly recommend that language be added to the Defense appropriations bill to guide the Defense Department back to GSA. He said the Appropriations Committee, of which he is a member, will likely approve the recommendation.

“One of my strong recommendations…is to have a much greater reliance on GSA and the use of GSA contracting officers,” Moran said in a speech today at the Coalition for Government Procurement conference in Crystal City, Va.

He said many well-trained contracting officers at DOD have left for the private sector, and the immediate fix is GSA’s concentration of contracting expertise.
Moran said the move would put an enormous burden on GSA. He said he hopes such a move would not overwhelm GSA because, although it has expertise, it does not have surplus of contracting officers.

Responding to a question about departments keeping their contracts in-house and increasing the contracting officers’ workload, Moran said GSA was the answer to the problem in the near term. The audience applauded that.

Michael Sade, assistant commissioner for acquisition management in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said GSA could handle such an increase in business.

“I believe we can — depending on the requirements,” he said. “The issue really becomes [whether we can] plan in advance.”

If Moran’s recommendation is included in the bill, Sade said, GSA would like to work with DOD to figure out what to expect from the department.

Moran said he intends to recommend procurement reforms for the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations bill. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, put Moran in charge of working on the reforms.

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