Vendors Can Still Weigh in GAO’s 5-Year Tech Contract

Montri Nipitvittaya/

The oversight office extended the deadline for industry to give advice on its coming modernization contract.

The Government Accountability Office is looking for an industry partner to help shepherd its technology improvements over the next five years, and prospective vendors now have a little more time to shape that acquisition.

GAO issued a request for information in December, with an original response date of Jan. 24. That due date has been extended to 2 p.m. on Feb. 2. As this is only an RFI and not an official solicitation, vendors don’t need to participate in order to be considered for the final award. However, the acquisition is still in the formative stages, and information provided through the RFI will affect the scope and form of the final solicitation.

The RFI and other market research being conducted now will inform the eventual strategy for upgrading all of GAO’s IT systems, with a focus on moving to the cloud—where appropriate—and advancing the office’s mobile capabilities.

Specifically, GAO believes it can meet these needs through four central initiatives:

  • Moving data center and other on-premise infrastructure out of headquarters.
  • A shift to cloud, maximizing the use of infrastructure as a service and software as a service.
  • Define, establish and operationalize a DevOps model.
  • Transfer in-house IT support from government owned/contractor operated to contractor owned/contractor operated.

But this is only an assumption on GAO’s part.

“Though these are GAO’s perceived steps of modernization, GAO is seeking industry expertise and nuance to aid our organization in determining the best practices that should be used to transform the agency to a place of modernity,” the RFI states.

The exact nature of these upgrades is still up in the air, though an accompanying Q&A document notes that cloud will likely play a large part.

“Currently, 95 percent of the infrastructure resides within the GAO data center,” the document states. “GAO expects the modernization effort within this acquisition to shift this paradigm and take advantage of cloud-based solutions. To this end, GAO is considering all cloud alternatives.”

Besides cloud, GAO IT managers are also very interested in hearing about mobile technologies to support field operations.

“By the nature of its mission, GAO is an agency with significant mobility needs,” the RFI states, noting that 95 percent of staff have notebook computers and employees use a virtual desktop infrastructure when in the office. “Significant importance is attached to secure, high-reliability remote access to GAO’s network. Since the requirement for mobility is so strong, so is the requirement for the protection of mobile information.”

The RFI does not mention a potential ceiling for this acquisition. However, GAO’s technology services currently are managed by CSRA under a contract valued at over $148 million.

The oversight office plans to issue one award for this project. However, the acquisition is still in the planning stages, the Q&A document notes, so this might change depending on new information.