GSA on the road to recovery?

Agency officials announce plans to fix sagging assisted acquisition services

In the past three years, the market for assisted acquisition services moved, but the General Services Administration didn’t. Now the agency is trying to catch up.

In announcing plans for fixing its slumping business, GSA said it will not eliminate the Assisted Acquisition Services Office. But the agency will trim the office and refocus it by moving into new areas of business. By December, officials plan to send almost half of the 600 employees in the Assisted Acquisition Services Office to another part of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service or to its Public Building Service.

Administrator Lurita Doan and FAS Commissioner Jim Williams announced the transfer at a Sept. 7 press briefing.

GSA is in this situation because, for the past decade, it hasn’t catered to agencies’ requirements as it should have, said a GSA official, who requested anonymity to speak freely.

Williams attributed the need for a new strategy to a change in the way customer agencies do business. Agencies go elsewhere for acquisition services, a development that is leaving GSA in the red. The agency’s assisted acquisition services business has been on a downward slide since fiscal 2004, and GSA sources say they expect it to lose about $50 million in 2007.

To catch up to the market, GSA will cut back on assisted acquisition services offerings to build a more economically viable business line that will break even by 2008, officials said.

“It is not enough to launch new programs,” Doan said. “You also have to have the courage and willingness to modify programs that are not performing successfully or not meeting expectations.”

Doan said FAS must align its assisted acquisition services’ costs with actual and projected revenue. “For us to do nothing was not an option,” she said.

Several plans came to Doan in the past few months that she rejected because they were not bold enough for turning around the service. But the plan released last week was comprehensive, she said.

GSA’s decision to move into new business areas and reduce resources will not mean job losses, officials said. Williams said the agency used a humane approach in dealing with employees who will no longer be needed in the assisted acquisition services business. About 250 employees will likely move to other FAS positions or other parts of GSA, based on their skills.

Layoffs are not part of the plan, Williams said, adding that FAS officials do not expect to submit early-out or buyout request packages to the Office of Personnel Management at this time. FAS is working with employee unions and affected employees to ensure a smooth transition, he said.

Doan said she sees a bright future for GSA’s assisted acquisition services. Information technology is becoming more complex, creating a greater need in the government for assistance in writing statements of work, managing projects and guiding customers, she said. GSA can handle that business.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group