Protests delay implementation of NASA’s SEWP contracts

Four companies have filed bid protests to be included in NASA’s slate of IT solution contracts under the SEWP V program.

The space agency announced 97 contracts in four groups earlier this month, scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 1. With the four protests logged with the Government Accountability Office, implementation of those contract awards has been delayed.

Four companies – UNICOM Government Inc., BahFed Corp., NCS Technologies Inc. and KPaul Properties LLC – submitted protests on Oct. 20. All four protests are under review by the GAO, which must issue decisions by Jan. 28.

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Army awards year-end communications contracts worth $4.7 billion to 12 firms

The Army has awarded year-end communications contracts valued at $4.7 billion, including a $4.1 billion deal Thursday with 12 companies for long-haul communications and transmission systems.

These companies will compete for task orders on the five-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract supporting the Defense Communications and Army Transmissions Systems program, which provides satellite and terrestrial communication systems to Army and Defense Department organizations, including the National Command Authority.

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Unraveling the facts about GWACs

Obama administration officials say there are too many IT procurement vehicles, and they want agencies to consolidate their buying around existing interagency contracts rather than launch new ones. There is even a strong case to cut back on current contracts, which officials say are often duplicative in what they provide for buyers.

Where does that leave governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs)?

In early 2012, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued rules requiring agencies that wanted to award their own multi-agency contracts (MACs) to submit a business case arguing why those contracts were necessary — something agencies that wanted to award GWACs have had to do for years.

“Agencies are required to balance the value of creating a new contract against the benefit of using an existing one, and whether the expected return on investment is worth the taxpayer resources,” said Dan Gordon, who was OFPP administrator at the time.

Following the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act that authorized their creation, GWACs became a poster child of sorts for that kind of contract inflation. Many agencies were looking to create their own contracts as testimony to their procurement mojo in an era of huge growth in government IT acquisition. For vendors, GWACs were seen as a hunting license to pursue lucrative government IT business.

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Army’s green energy contract tops $23 billion

A group of companies, including a unit of the German engineering conglomerate Siemens AG, won the U.S. Defense Department’s biggest contract last month, a potential $7 billion deal for alternative energy.

The Army plans to buy the renewable energy from privately developed power plants, according to the May 7 announcement. The facilities are to be built, operated and maintained by companies under an agreement hailed by service officials as the first of its kind.

“This effort will lead to enhanced energy security and sustainability for our installations,” Col. Robert Ruch, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers center in Huntsville, Ala., which is overseeing the work, said in a statement.

The award topped a list of more than 250 contracts with a combined value of more than $23 billion in May, according to a Military​.com analysis of the Pentagon’s daily contract announcements. That figure is about 22 percent higher than the value from April and doesn’t reflect what is actually spent, or obligated, because many deals are only partially funded at first.

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FAS management pressured officers to award contracts

The Federal Acquisition Service overrode its contracting officers and  pressured them to extend or award schedules contracts based on complaints from  contractors, a June 4 General Services Administration office of inspector  general report  (.pdf) says.

FAS management allowed contractors to circumvent contracting officers when  the contractors disagreed with contracting staff determinations and supported  the contractors’ positions, including by reassigning contracts to different  contracting officers, the report says.

In each reassignment case, the new contracting officer awarded or extended  contracts without properly addressing significant issues identified by previous  contracting officers, the report says. The result, auditors add, is that GSA  signed or extended schedules contracts with inflated pricing or unfavorable  terms.

The report focuses on three large information technology schedule contracts  that represented over $900 million in contract sales in calendar year 2011–a  Oracle services contract that garnered $358.4 million worth of business,  Carahsoft Technology with $432 million worth of sales, and a Deloitte Consulting  contract worth $119.5 million that year.

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GSA owes more than $3 million to small businesses

The General Services Administration has failed to fully pay 1,334 federal contractors, shorting them by more than $3 million since 2008, according to a House committee report released Thursday.

The amount may not be large, but lawmakers on the Republican-led House Small Business Committee emphasized the importance of such companies.

“Contracting with small businesses is good for the economy and it’s good for the taxpayer because small companies bring cost-savings to the federal government,” Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the committee chairman, said in a statement. “But when federal agencies don’t live up to their end of the bargain, small businesses are discouraged from competing and taxpayers lose the benefits of government efficiency.”

The agency did not fulfill a “guaranteed minimum payment” clause outlined in many of its contracts, the report said.

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Three contractors tapped to develop smart Humvee replacements

The Army and Marine Corps awarded three companies development contracts Wednesday for their next generation of wheeled tactical vehicles, which will require a gigabit speed local area network to support onboard computers, communications and electronic warfare systems.

AM General, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Oshkosh Corp. won 27-month engineering and development contracts valued at $64.5 million, $66.3 million and $56.4 million respectively to produce 22 prototype Joint Light Tactical Vehicles each. The services will evaluate the prototypes at Army test centers in Arizona, Maryland and New Mexico.

The services then will select a single contractor to manufacture up to 50,000 JLTVs for the Army and another 5,000 for the Marine Corps. The development contracts specify that the services will pay no more than $250,000 per JLTV, putting the value of the production contract for 55,000 vehicles at $13.8 billion.

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Growth in federal contracts called unsustainable

Federal and industry officials questioned Wednesday whether changes are needed to rein in the growth of multiple award contracts, especially those run by individual agencies.

In the years since a series of acquisition reforms were enacted starting in the mid-1990s, multiple award contracts have proliferated. Under such arrangements, vendors are chosen to provide a set of goods or services and then compete among themselves for individual orders from federal agencies.

According to a Bloomberg Government analysis, the amount of contract dollars obligated under multiple award contracts has doubled since fiscal 2006 to more than $83 billion in 2011. In 2006, 427 such contracts existed across government. As of last year, the number had risen to 1,182. The biggest growth area is in agency-specific contracts.

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OFPP nominee speaks about his qualifications, acquisition workforce, contractor compensation, and multiple award contracts

Joe Jordan defended his qualifications last Wednesday to be the next administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. But the concerns may be less about Jordan and more about the shoes he has to fill.

Jordan, who currently is a senior adviser to Jeff Zients, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, would replace Dan Gordon, who spent more than 20 years in federal procurement. Jordan also has less experience than the previous five OFPP administrators.

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GSA renames $48B IT contract

The General Services Administration’s professional services contract Integrations is now named OASIS, officials said March 28.

OASIS stands for One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services.

The contract is still in the pre-request for proposals stage and is expected to have a ceiling of $48 billion.

“Selecting a name for a solution is no small task; a name must not only be recognizable, but it must also convey the solution’s purpose and value,” Jim Ghiloni, the recently named program executive officer of OASIS, wrote March 28 in a post on GSA Interact.

OASIS is an integrated professional services contract with a support IT component. The principle services include management and consulting, professional engineering, and logistics and financial services. Officials have said it will be a hybrid contract with commercial and non-commercial items available through it. It will also allow for all types of contracts at the task order level.

OASIS will be a multiple-award, multi-agency task and delivery order contract. GSA officials say it will be more like a multiple-award contract or a governmentwide acquisition contract than a Multiple Award Schedule.

With the name-change, officials are focusing on the next stage. They are coming together from FAS’ Office of General Supplies and Services, Office of Information Technology Services, Office of Assisted Acquisition Services, and others to work on arranging the contract to suit agencies’ needs.

FAS also needs to finalize and post the contract in the Office of Management and Budget’s MAX Federal website. By posting it there, the government can see if another contract is already selling these same services. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has tried to avoid duplicative contracts.

They plan on establishing a customer working group and continue to use GSA’s Interact website to gather input and share updates.

“We believe the name OASIS, generated with input from industry members, is representative of the true value this vehicle will bring to the federal government,” said Steve Kempf, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at GSA.

About the Author: Matthew Weigelt is a senior writer covering acquisition and procurement for Federal Computer Week.  This article was published on Mar. 28, 2012 at