Acquisition

Revamped 18F to get a contracting embed

Thomas Sharpe

Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tom Sharpe wants to cross-pollinate innovation with the Technology Transformation Service.

The newly empowered 18F innovation group, now installed at the General Services Administration's Technology Transformation Service, is getting an infusion of acquisition expertise.

GSA will move a contracting officer from the Federal Acquisition Service to TTS on a full-time basis, FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe said. The goal is to help innovators at TTS conduct procurements for agency customers. Although TTS has internal authority to purchase for itself, it needs FAS contracting officers for external procurement support, Sharpe added.

He told FCW that GSA also wants to promote cross-pollination of expertise. The embedded contracting expert will share knowledge of the ins and outs of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and at the same time gain experience in the emerging discipline of agile IT procurement.

The cross-training and knowledge sharing will lead to greater expertise and as demand for agile IT procurement support increases, that expertise will become more valuable and necessary to help agencies get the best possible outcomes, Sharpe said.

The plan is to start with one FAS employee and later scale the number based on demand, he added.

Formed in early May, TTS combined three of GSA's technology groups -- 18F, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, and the Presidential Innovation Fellows -- to offer agencies a one-stop shop for building and buying IT.

TTS was conceived as the third organizational pillar of GSA, joining FAS and the Public Buildings Service. The move was a major elevation of 18F from an Obama administration innovation project to a permanent hub of federal technology activity.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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