Converging security needs create new market for GSA

RFI on security convergence

A growing federal market for separate but related security demands has led the General Services Administration to concoct ways to offer the wide-ranging requirements in a single package.

To minimize vulnerabilities, agencies are rethinking their purchasing strategies and starting a new trend in buying security services. Their different security features, such as cameras, security guards and information technology platforms, need to interact. For example, security guard services and IT need to be on the same playing field.

Attempting to order and then connect these services as one is called security convergence. In a request for information released July 16, GSA said it is reviewing the emerging trends in industry and government and asking how each approaches security and integrates different requirements.

Michael Sade, assistant commissioner for acquisition management at the Federal Acquisition Service, said those separate pieces may be on different GSA Schedules, but now GSA wants to assemble a complete, easy-to-buy security solution. Sade and other GSA officials spoke today at a security conference in Washington sponsored by the Coalition for Government Procurement.

GSA officials said they want to avoid a new schedule or even a blanket purchase agreement. The simple and immediate answer is contractor team arrangements. With the feedback from the RFI, they want to structure an arrangement to match the growing market, leaving enough flexibility for agencies.

But GSA is only beginning to become acquainted with the market.

The convergences have started and agencies know what they need, said Kellie Stoker, director of GSA’s law enforcement and security schedule within the Greater Southwest Acquisition Center. “We’re finally recognizing that agencies need help.”

GSA is working on in-house training and finding ways to reach out to industry and customers. Meanwhile, “we’re still in learn mode,” Stoker said.

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