New small biz GWAC dubbed Polaris
- By Mark Rockwell
- Oct 05, 2020
Federal contractors should look for a request for information for the General Services Administration's planned small business governmentwide acquisition vehicle in October, according to a top official in the agency's Federal Acquisition Service.
Following the RFI, the agency also plans to release a draft request for proposals for the emerging GWAC "in the next few months" said Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the FAS, Office of Information Technology Category, in an Oct. 1 update on the agency's plans for the contract vehicle.
The developing contract, dubbed "Polaris," follows GSA's cancellation of its $15 billion Alliant 2 SB contract in early July, after the effort had endured a year of protests at the Government Accountability Office and in federal court.
The solicitation and timing for Polaris are in line with what agency officials had described for the contract's progression during a town hall-style webcast with industry in August: task order-level pricing competition; on-ramping for new technologies and vendors; increased focus on Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) and woman-owned small businesses; and a streamlined approach to access to new and emerging technologies, such as 5G, blockchain, robotics processing and cloud, all remain part of plans for the contract, according to Stanton.
Stanton said the agency still wants to streamline the process for new vendors to get into the federal market. The agency is evaluating using an online proposal submission tool to speed up Polaris contract awards, as well as a modified evaluation strategy.
The vendor evaluation strategy might mirror those used in Veterans Technology Services 2 and Alliant 2, she said. Those considerations were driven by industry comments that "made it clear" changes to the business practices needed a tune-up, she said.
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.
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