GSA on track with schedules, EIS

GSA's Federal Acquisition Service is successfully shepherding a comprehensive series of initiatives to streamline the procurement process for agencies and companies.

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The General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service is successfully shepherding a comprehensive series of initiatives to streamline the procurement process for agencies and companies, according to the service's top manager.

Commissioner Alan Thomas said FAS is making progress on efforts to improve assisted acquisition, consolidate schedules, enhance an internal contract writing system and transition to a next-generation telecommunications contract vehicle.

FAS Assistant Commissioners Crystal Philcox and Mark Lee joined Thomas at an AFFIRM breakfast on July 24 to discuss some of their accomplishments with the agency's federal marketplace strategy and other efforts.

Thomas said FAS is melding 24 schedules into a one to make buying and selling more efficient. It involves shifting thousands of vendors to the new schedule. "We should have everyone moved over … by the end of the year," he said. Given the large volume of vendors, however, "there will be all kinds of special cases," and GSA has been addressing them.

The agency released a request for information on June 7 seeking input on the terms and conditions for the unified schedule, which officials anticipate having in place by Oct. 1.

In addition, Thomas said FAS is also seeing a 30% to 35% increase in business for its assisted acquisition services compared to last year. The increase comes as the Department of Health and Human Services reportedly is ending its assisted acquisition services, which means over $1.4 billion in contracts with the Defense Department, Office of Personnel Management and the Environmental Protection Agency will need to find another vehicle. Federal News Network first reported the move by HHS.

Thomas said he had heard "rumblings for a while" of HHS' plans and expected the agency to make an orderly transition for its existing contracts. However, he didn't say whether those contracts might wind up at GSA.

Assisted acquisition requires a "blend of people, process and technology," Thomas said, and GSA is building a work environment that will entice talented technical workers. Given the agency's broad mission reach across government and its efforts to modernize systems, "we are a pretty attractive place to work."

Thomas said he is pleased with FAS' progress on one of its biggest contracts -- the $50 billion, 15-year Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

Agencies have been slowly ramping up their solicitations for the contract, and he noted that NASA and the Justice Department have awarded EIS task orders without protests.

The September deadline for agencies to issue their EIS solicitations is fast approaching, but Thomas said agencies are moving forward at a pace that is acceptable for such a large, complex contract.

Although the three largest EIS contractors have been granted the required authorities to operate, he said he expects the remaining six prime EIS contractors to receive their ATOs by the end of the year, with three most likely awarded by the end of the fiscal year in October and the remaining three by the end of the calendar year.

Editor's note: This article was changed July 24 to correct the name of the event sponsor.