NITAAC expects post-shutdown push

The manager of the National Institute of Health's governmentwide acquisition contracting vehicles says federal customers will have to rush to meet fiscal 2019 purchasing deadlines after the shutdown.

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The head of the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center anticipates a rush of business to its three governmentwide acquisition contracts as the federal government spins back up after the shutdown.

The shutdown is set to become the longest federal closure ever after Jan. 12.

NITAAC's leader, however, is looking ahead to buying activity after the shutdown ends.

"When the government reopens, agencies will still have to make their obligations based on the funding they received and their obligation deadlines," NITAAC Director Bridget Gauer told FCW via email. "With the shutdown, they will have a shorter timeframe for doing so. We anticipate that many of these awards will be made during the 4th quarter."

NITAAC, like NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement and the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Services GWACs, remain open for business.

Unlike SEWP and FAS, NITAAC's parent agency, the National Institutes of Health, is fully funded, said Gauer, so it remains fully staffed. The NASA and GSA GWACs operate on fees from sales and remain open, but the lack of appropriations mean they are doing so with some staff on furlough. SEWP program manager Joanne Woytek told FCW that her team’s staffing was at 95 percent during the shutdown.

Gauer also said NITAAC can add additional staff if needed, particularly after the shutdown ends, to support federal agency acquisitions.

NITAAC oversees three governmentwide contracts: CIO-CS, CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business, which cover IT commodities, services and solutions.