The General Services Administration handed out long awaited awards to 74 companies under its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services contracting vehicle. OASIS functions as professional services sister vehicle to Alliant, which handles IT solutions in a similar way. The contract vehicle offers agencies a governmentwide contract that streamlines the acquisition of complex professional services, GSA said in a May 19 statement.
Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable contracts might save the government some money, but they deter innovation, a panel of government contracting officials said Monday. "I don't know a senior leader in government that thinks LPTA is the best," said Tiffany Hixson, regional commissioner for the General Services Administration. "Contracting and innovation is about risk management.
A White House memo lays out changes to education and knowledge requirements for federal contracting officers and calls for more training and specializations. The May 7 memo (pdf) from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy says the new training and requirements will bring agencies more in line with Defense Department contracting practices including 100 additional hours of targeted training.
The General Services Administration unveiled tools that they say will simplify the process for small businesses to find contracting opportunities. The initiatives were part of a May 9 program showcasing the agency's 18F team – a lab of developers and designers from both inside and outside the government working together to build digital services that will be used across agencies.
Reaching out to industry early in the procurement process can prevent situations where only one vendor bids on a contract that is supposed to be competitively awarded, the Government Accountability Office says.
The Defense Department needs more training for its acquisition workforce, as many of the department's seasoned program managers are set retire, the DoD's top acquisition official said. "Seasoned and experienced program managers are retiring in record numbers and newly-hired junior members of the workforce are not yet properly trained and qualified to take on the," said Under Secretary Of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall.
At the urging of several procurement industry groups, the General Services Administration has created a position to act as a liaison between the federal government and its vendors. Back in February, Millisa Gary was appointed as GSA procurement ombudsman to work with the agencies' industry partners to "ensure their voice is heard," said GSA Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung in an April 24 statement.
Budget cuts, sequestration and the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan caused an 11 percent decline in last year's federal contract spending compared to the previous year.
Individual federal contractors will likely face increased conflict of interest scrutiny under a proposed regulation. Currently the Federal Acquisition Regulation limits the definition of personal conflict of interest to those performing jobs closely associated with inherently governmental acquisition work.
The Air Force thinks it's paying more for its goods and services than it should and wants to put pressure on its contractors to reduce costs in their supply chain. Previously, when the Air Force negotiated contracts, much of it went to prime contractors, but now 60 to 70 percent of that is subcontracted, said the Air Force's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Contracting Wendy Masiello.