STARS III deadline draws near

The STARS II small business contract proved so popular that its ceiling value has been extended several times, but the General Services Administration is ready for its successor.

shutterstock  ID: 402857011 By vectorfusionart

The deadline for bidding on General Services Administration's 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resource for Services III 8(a) STARS III) multiple award contract closes Aug. 26.

The 8(a) STARS III contract is the successor to the General Services Administration's extremely popular 8(a) STARS II contract that has approximately 800 small business vendors that provide customized IT services-based solutions that can be tailored to meet agency's mission needs.

GSA has raised the ceiling on 8(a) STARS II repeatedly over its life span to accommodate strong federal agencies' demand to support their small business contracting goals. After the contract hit its $15 billion ceiling in April, GSA bumped up the value at the end of July by $7 billion to a $22 billion total.

GSA has honed the 8(a) STARS III contract to accommodate more bidders, as well as doubled its ceiling to $50 billion, increased focus on adding new technologies, as well as providing services for federal agencies with offices and needs outside the continental U.S.

The agency has also issued multiple extensions, in part to answer vendor questions,

"We have developed an aggressive solicitation and evaluation timeline to make awards for 8(a) STARS III as soon as possible," said Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service's Office of Information Technology Category in an Aug. 18 blog post.

Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Counsel, said that the new contract will help GSA find new technology companies as well as requalify existing companies. The new version will also help the agency modify the contract to include more current language.

"Rules have changed a lot over the years," Chvotkin said. The current contract vehicle, dating back to 2011, "is kind of clunky" and not as nimble as newer contracts.