Procurement

GWACs ride the tide of popularity

Shutterstock image (by Mascha Tace): business contract competition, just out of reach.

Business in governmentwide acquisition contracts is booming, with agency buyers turning to the large-scale vehicles for price breaks and convenience.

"The word has gotten out on the flexibility and ease of use of GWACs," said Casey Kelley, acting director of the General Services Administration's GWAC Program.

During a panel discussion at the Digital Government Institute's 930gov conference on Aug. 24, Kelley said GSA's Alliant contract has $3.5 billion in the pipeline for fiscal 2017. GWACs like Alliant, which is set to expire in 2019, typically see declines in their later years, he added.

NASA's year-old Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement V is also going strong, with growth of 25 percent expected in its first year, SEWP Program Manager Joanne Woytek said.

The National Institutes of Health IT Acquisition and Assessment Center, which oversees three big GWACs, has seen 30,000 orders this year, an increase of about 10 percent, said Charles Hicks, a NITAAC branch chief.

GWAC managers said the reason for the sustained growth is the contracts' ability to help federal customers move smoothly and quickly to address immediate IT needs rather than conducting protracted contracting efforts of their own.

GWACs can also handle newer contracting goals, such as incorporating agile methodologies.

"Since 1992, SEWP has been innovative in contracts," Woytek said. She added that it's up to federal agencies to give new contracting methods a try.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

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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Reader comments

Fri, Aug 26, 2016

GREAT for the Agency buyers, NOT SO GREAT for the industry companies that spend hundreds of thousands chasing these things. They in themselves offer nothing more than a non-guaranteed, potential, maybe, perhaps opportunity to write more proposals. Just look at what the VA has now done to the T4NG contract. Every large business that was seduced into wasting money chasing that vehicle has a legitimate grievance, as the government is going to funnel everything to veteran-owned and/or small businesses. GSA wants us to all chase another infrastructure-as-a-service contract, just so they can get on stage and (continue to) direct everyone to Amazon anyway. I'm glad the government thinks these things are great for them, but they are no picnic for industry.

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